A sales representative hoping to earn $1,050 by smuggling in 21 puppies from Malaysia not only received no payment but was sentenced on Monday to 10 weeks in jail. Koh Cheow Chuan pleaded guilty last month to bringing in the 13 pomeranians and seven pugs without a licence from the Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority (AVA). The 28-year-old also admitted to subjecting the animals to unnecessary cruelty by transporting them in the spare tyre compartment of his car.
A district court heard that Koh met a man, known to him only as "Noel", in August last year. He had initially turned down Noel's offer to earn $50 from each pet smuggled in from Malaysia. However, he agreed to do it three months later.
On Nov 20, he drove into Johor Baru. He had been instructed by Noel to remove the spare tyre from his car boot. At the car park at the Jusco shopping mall there, a man parked his car next to Koh's and placed the 21 sedated puppies on top of some newspapers and ice packs in the spare tyre compartment.
Koh was then told to return to Singapore and to await further instructions from Noel. However, he was pulled up for inspection at the Woodlands Checkpoint and the pups were discovered by officers there. Two of the pups died while under observation at the Sembawang Animal Quarantine Station.
In passing sentence, District Judge Shaiffudin Saruwan pointed out that Koh had committed the offences for financial gain. If the puppies were successfully smuggled in, each could have been sold for up to $1,000.
Pet-owners told The Straits Times that pet shops charge up to $3,000 for a pug or pomeranian but the animals come with papers to attest to their pedigree.