SINGAPORE - A 49-year-old Singaporean man is assisting with investigations after 22 live star tortoises were found in a bag in his car boot.
The Singapore-registered car driven by the man had been referred for further checks upon arrival at Woodlands Checkpoint last Thursday (June 23).
Upon discovery of the tortoises amongst other grocery bags, the driver and the reptiles were handed over to the Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority (AVA), it said in a joint statement with the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA) on Monday.
While the man is assisting AVA with investigations, the tortoises are under the care of Wildlife Reserves Singapore.
Star tortoises are protected under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species in Wild Fauna and Flora (Cites), for which Singapore is a signatory.
The import and export of star tortoises require Cites permits, AVA and ICA said.
Offenders can be fined up to $50,000 per animal (up to a total of $500,000) and/or face a jail term of up to two years.
ICA said it will continue to conduct security checks on passengers and vehicles at the checkpoints to prevent attempts to smuggle in undesirable persons, drugs and other contrabands.