NTU student fined for keeping tarantulas and other animals in HDB flat
A Nanyang Technological University biological sciences student who kept more than 20 wild animals, including tarantulas, in a Housing Board flat was fined $17,000 on Wednesday.
Herman Foo Yong He, 24, admitted to 12 charges under the Wild Animals and Birds Act, and one charge under the Endangered Species (Import and Export) Act.
A total of 26 other charges were taken into consideration.
Foo's offences were exposed after a parcel with 23 live tarantulas in containers was flagged at the Singapore Post Air Cargo Centre.
An officer of the National Parks Board was then alerted to the suspicious parcel, said the prosecutor.
The officer inspected the parcel at the post centre and found that it contained the live tarantulas, two black T-shirts and a business name card of the UK pet shop.
Foo had ordered 14 live tarantulas online from shop, and the seller had given him an additional nine tarantulas as a gift.
The parcel was addressed to a Housing Board unit in Bedok.
Investigations revealed there were 26 other animals in the Bedok flat, with 20 tarantulas, one jumping spider, one four-toed hedgehog, three leopard geckos and one fat-tailed gecko.
Two of the 20 tarantulas were on the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora list of endangered species.
Foo did not have a permit to possess the endangered animals, nor did he have a licence to keep the wild animals in the flat.
In mitigation, Foo said he has been fascinated with the insect kingdom, wildlife and animals since he was a child. His family had gone through some problems, and his mother bought him crickets to play with as they could not afford toys.
He said it was a turning point for him when the authorities took all his animals away from him.
To prove his remorse, he got a job as a veterinary technician for a year and also developed an application to reunite missing pets with their owners.