Man charged for allegedly smuggling 5,160 terrapins , Latest Singapore News - The New Paper

Man charged for allegedly smuggling 5,160 terrapins

A man who is said to have illegally exported 5,160 terrapins in his suitcases from Singapore to India was charged on March 20.

Rafique Syed Hariza Ali Hussain, 40, was handed one charge under the Wildlife Act, and another under the Animals and Birds Act.

On Nov 7, 2023, the Indian national who is a Singapore permanent resident allegedly exported 5,160 red-eared terrapins illegally from Singapore to Coimbatore International Airport in Tami Nadu, India.

He is said to have done so without the written approval from the National Parks Board (NParks) director-general of wildlife management.

Rafique also allegedly failed to take reasonable steps to ensure the animals were not confined in a manner that subjected them to unnecessary suffering.

He is said to have concealed the animals in his two personal suitcases, which were not ventilated.

According to the NParks website, the red-eared terrapin is native to North America and is the most popular turtle in the pet trade.

They are often purchased when they are young and discarded by pet owners once they mature, according to the site.

Rafique was offered bail of $35,000 and his case was adjourned. He is expected to return to court on April 3.

At least 30 cases of pet animal and wildlife smuggling were detected by the authorities in 2023.

NParks and the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) said in January that the most serious of these cases took place in March 2023 and involved the smuggling of 337 birds.

It led to two men receiving sentences of up to 72 weeks in jail – the longest ever given here for animal smuggling, NParks and ICA said.

On Jan 10, five puppies and three kittens were found during a vehicle inspection at Woodlands Checkpoint, in what was the first case of animal smuggling detected in 2024. 

The animals were found hidden in the car’s spare tyre compartment, and the 42-year-old driver of the car was arrested.

Those convicted of exporting wildlife without written approval can be jailed for up to a year, fined up to $10,000, or both.

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