SINGAPORE––The Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority of Singapore on February 10, 2014 announced that Ong Ming Shiang, 33, had been fined a record $41,000 Singapore dollars (about $32,310 U.S.) for illegal possession of 32 smuggled exotic animals.
But the case “really puzzles me,” said Animal Concerns Research & Education Society president Louis Ng. “He could have been fined up to $500,000 and sentenced to a jail term of up to two years. He was caught with evidence suggesting that he kept the animals to sell. How does the fine of less than 10% of the maximum, with no jail term, send a deterrent message? What exactly does one have to do, to receive the maximum penalty?”
Altogether, 19 of the 32 animals seized from Shiang’s apartment on June 3, 2013 were listed on CITES Appendix I, meaning that they were of internationally recognized endangered species. Among the animals were a Sunda slow loris, three ball pythons, two Indian star tortoises, and three leopard tortoises.
The raid netted more animals than all Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority of Singapore seizures of exotic species in 2012 combined.
ACRES on February 13 asked the Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority to appeal, seeking a stiffer sentence.