Singapore authorities seize illegally imported corals

In a joint operation, Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) and Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) have seized about 75 hard corals and five soft corals which were illegally imported into Singapore.

After getting a tip-off, ICA and AVA officers along with a logistics company located the illegal shipment at an importer’s premises and seized the haul of hard and soft corals.

Illegally imported corals were seized in Singapore
Illegally imported corals were seized in Singapore. Photo courtesy:

The corals have been handed over to the Resorts World Sentosa while the case is being investigated.

The importer had falsely declared these marine invertebrates as ‘plastic aquarium ornaments’. Hard corals are protected by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) and Singapore is a signatory to this convention.

However, the agencies observed that while soft corals are not protected by CITES, they were also confiscated as they were falsely declared as "plastic aquarium ornaments", and were bundled together with the illegal shipment of hard corals.

People who illegally trade in endangered species may be liable to a fine of SGD50,000 for each protected species (not exceeding a maximum aggregate of SGD500,000), and/or jailed up to two years.