SINGAPORE: A man's attempt to smuggle birds into Singapore was foiled when Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA) officers detected them aboard a bus at the Woodlands Checkpoint.
A total of seven live Merbok birds stored in cloth bags were found and seized.
The smuggler, 66-year-old Malaysian, is also a Singapore permanent resident.
The bus that he was travelling on arrived at the Woodlands Checkpoint on August 12, 2009, at approximately 0100hrs, and was directed for routine inspection.
During the round of checks, the ICA officer discovered two innocuous-looking cloth bags hanging on the seat lever near the back of the bus. The bags contained the trapped Merbok birds, better known as "songbirds".
The man later claimed ownership of the birds, after the bus driver identified him to the ICA officers.
He claimed that the birds were given to him as gifts by a friend when the bus stopover at a town in Johor, Malaysia.
The case was referred to the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) for further investigations.
The importation of live birds without an AVA permit is a violation of the Animals and Birds Act, which carries a maximum penalty of $10,000 and/or imprisonment of up to 1 year.