Man fined $13,400 over illegal tarantulas and iguanas
A man who was caught with two iguanas and 10 tarantulas was fined $13,400 last week.
Wong Andy Wong See Keong, 35, pleaded guilty last Wednesday to three charges under the Endangered Species (Import and Export) Act and two charges under the Wild Animals and Birds Act.
Six similar charges were taken into consideration.
On the night of March 5, the Singaporean was caught with two tarantulas in separate containers in his car at Woodlands Checkpoint while entering Singapore.
Officers from the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) then informed the National Parks Board (NParks), which sent officers down to investigate.
When they arrived, Wong confessed he actually had three tarantulas, not two.
The officers then searched the car and were able to retrieve the third one.
Wong's home was also searched, and two iguanas and seven more tarantulas were found.
He admitted to owning the reptiles and the venomous spiders, knowing it was an offence to keep these animals here.
In all, his illegal pets were:
- Two green iguanas
- An Indian ornamental tarantula
- A Chaco golden knee tarantula
- A Togo starburst tarantula
- A Mexican rustleg tarantula
- Two Costa Rican tiger rump tarantulas
- Four other tarantulas
Last Wednesday, NParks prosecutor Wendy Tan urged the court to give Wong a deterrent sentence.
She said it was difficult for ICA officers to detect illegal wildlife, as animals such as tarantulas are small and easily hidden. She added that Wong's actions undermined international protection for trade.
Wong told the court he was sorry and regretted his actions.
Ms Tan said NParks is seeking an additional $3,010 from the accused, as costs to upkeep the animals seized from him pending court proceedings.
District Judge Ong Luan Tze has issued a disposal order for the seized animals.
For each charge of importing a wild animal into Singapore, Wong could have been fined up to $1,000 for each animal.
For each charge of possessing an animal scheduled as an endangered species, he could have been fined up to $50,000, or jailed for up to two years, or both.