SINGAPORE - Two four-toed hedgehogs and a leopard gecko were uncovered from a man's belongings during a routine check at the Woodlands Checkpoint on Feb 6 at about 8.45pm, said the Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority (AVA) and Immigrations Customs Authority (ICA) in a joint statement released today.
A 26-year-old Malaysian man was aboard a Singapore-registered taxi during the inspection conducted by ICA officers.
The hedgehogs were found hidden inside a shoe box and the gecko was placed in a small plastic container that was kept in the passenger's white zip pouch.
ICA subsequently handed the passenger and the seized exhibits over to AVA for investigations.
The passenger was fined $1,500 for importing animals illegally and the taxi driver was released after it was found that he was not implicated in the case.
The animals were later sent to the Singapore Zoo.
AVA added that animals like geckos and hedgehogs are not suitable pets as some may transmit zoonotic diseases to humans and can be a public safety risk if mishandled or if they escape.
These non-native animals may also pose a threat to local biodiversity if released into the environment.
Importing any animals or live birds without an AVA permit is an offence, and anyone found guilty of smuggling animals faces a maximum fine of $10,000 and/or a jail term of up to one year.
For more information on bringing animals into Singapore from overseas travels, visit AVA's website at http://www.ava.gov.sg/.