The Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority and Singapore Customs conducted a series of operations over the past two weeks to stop the shipment of $5 million worth of red sandalwood - an endangered species.
The consignments had been declared as hot lime pickles and casting wheels but officials acting on a tip-off, recovered more than 1,300 sandalwood logs instead, making this the largest seizure since 2011.
The 45 tonnes of red sandalwood, which were stored in three 40-foot containers, were in transit in Singapore from India. They were interdicted on Oct 30 and Nov 13 and 14 when they arrived here.
Red sandalwood is listed as an endangered species in the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), which Singapore is a signatory of. Special permission is needed for its export or re-export. Under the Endangered Species (Import and Export) Act, the maximum penalty for illegal trade of red sandalwood is a fine of $50,000 per specimen and or imprisonment of up to two years.