Man jailed three months for smuggling live birds into Singapore and animal cruelty

AVA seized the smuggled Zebra Dove (left) and two Oriental White-eye birds as part of AVA’s investigation.
AVA seized the smuggled Zebra Dove (left) and two Oriental White-eye birds as part of AVA’s investigation.PHOTO: AVA

SINGAPORE - A Singaporean man was sentenced to three months in jail for smuggling songbirds in cramped conditions.

Low Seng Hai, 63, illegally imported two Oriental white-eyes or mata puteh, and a zebra dove on May 27.

He was also found guilty of an animal cruelty charge, for subjecting the birds to unnecessary suffering or pain.

The Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority (AVA) was notified by the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA) officers at the Woodlands Checkpoint of the three live birds on May 27, the agencies said in a joint press release on Wednesday (Nov 23).

The birds were found hidden inside two small pouches under the front passenger console of a car, where they had "hardly any space for movement".

They were also without food and water.

"The birds were transported in a precarious manner," the authorities said.

AVA investigated and confirmed that the birds were imported without an AVA permit.

As part of the investigation, the birds were tested and found to be free from bird flu. They have been successfully rehomed to the Jurong Bird Park.

Importing any animals or live birds without an AVA permit is illegal and carries a maximum fine of $10,000 and/or imprisonment of up to a year.