Singapore jails two Vietnamese rare bird smugglers

By VnExpress   December 30, 2016 | 06:53 pm GMT+7
Singapore jails two Vietnamese rare bird smugglers
One of the 12 smuggled Chinese Hwamei birds was found dead. Photo courtesy of the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore.

The birds were cramped inside small plastic boxes with hardly any space for them to move, said Singaporean authorities.

Two Vietnamese men will spend six months in prison for illegally importing 12 endangered songbirds into Singapore.

On Thursday, the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) announced that the duo had tried to smuggle 12 Chinese Hwamei birds on a flight from Vietnam to Singapore on December 9.

Officers from the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) interdicted the birds at Changi Airport.

The men received an additional four month sentence for subjecting the live animals to unnecessary pain and suffering, said the AVA.

The men had packed the birds in white plastic containers wrapped in clothing and stored them in a pair of suitcases.

“Our investigation found that the birds had been confined for approximately 12 hours in the plastic containers without food and water. One of the birds did not survive,” the AVA said in a press release yesterday.

singapore-jails-two-vietnamese-rare-bird-smugglers

The birds were kept in plastic containers in two pieces of luggage. Photo credit to the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore.

The AVA also confirmed that the men pleaded guilty to smuggling 12 Chinese Hwamei, a species protected by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.

The remaining 11 birds were later tested, as part of the investigations, for avian influenza. One of the birds was found positive for influenza A strain H3N8.

“The bird was exposed to the virus before its arrival in Singapore,” said the AVA, which noted that Singapore is one of the few countries in the region free from bird flu.

"The ICA and AVA would like to remind travelers not to bring animals, birds and insects into Singapore without a proper permit," the statement added.

It is illegal to import any animals or live birds without a permit. If convicted, the offender may be fined SGD$10,000 and/or jailed for up to a year.

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