The Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) and Singapore Customs intercepted an air shipment of illegal ivory and pangolin scales in boxes labelled “synthetic wigs from Nigeria” The AVA and Customs disclosed in a joint news release on Thursday that the scales worth an estimated 1.3 million Singapore dollars were impounded at Changi Airfreight Centre.
Chua Teck-Hui, Head of Air Checkpoints Branch, Singapore Customs, said that the 0.8-ton shipment originated from Lagos, Nigeria, and were en route to Vientiane, Laos, via Singapore on Saturday. He said that a close inspection of the shipment revealed 255 pieces of raw elephant tusks weighing about 505 kilogrammes and pangolin scales weighing about 324 kilogrammes.
Teck-Hui said the consignment was the fifth largest seizure of illegal ivory by Singapore authorities since 2002. “A freight forwarding company in connection with the shipment is assisting AVA with the investigations. “We have zero tolerance on the use of Singapore as a conduit to smuggle endangered species, their parts and products,” he said.
He said that the government would continue to collaborate with other national and international enforcement agencies to curb wildlife trafficking. Teck-Hui stated that under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) to which Singapore was a signatory, elephants and pangolins were endangered species.
The officer said International trade in ivory and pangolin scales was prohibited without CITES permits. “Under the Endangered Species (Import and Export) Act, a CITES permit is required for any import, export or re-export of CITES wildlife and their parts and products.
“The maximum penalty for the illegal wildlife is a fine of 50,000 Singapore dollars per scheduled specimen or imprisonment of up to two years or both,’’ he said.