2 fined for illegal import and buying of cooked embryonated duck eggs

Lea Soon Lieo concealed the eggs in two suitcases inside the boot and tyre compartment of a car.
Lea Soon Lieo concealed the eggs in two suitcases inside the boot and tyre compartment of a car.PHOTOS: AVA

SINGAPORE - A 40-year-old man was fined $5,000 for illegally importing 148 cooked embryonated duck eggs into Singapore for sale, the Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority (AVA) and Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) said in a joint statement on Wednesday (July 26).

Lea Soon Lieo, alias Mohd Syukri Sabri Lea, had concealed the eggs in two suitcases inside the boot and tyre compartment of a car. They were discovered by ICA officers when he arrived at Tuas Checkpoint on April 30.

A 30-year-old, Ramiscal Quenny Dela Cruz, was fined $2,500. She was one of Lea's buyers.

Such eggs, commonly known as balut, are developing bird (usually duck or chicken) embryos that are boiled and eaten from the shell. They originated from the Philippines and are sold as street food in several South-east Asian countries.

The eggs were seized and subsequently destroyed, AVA and ICA said in their statement.

The AVA said there are currently no approved sources of balut eggs.

"Smuggled food products are from unknown sources. Apart from food safety concerns, AVA has to remain vigilant to prevent diseases such as bird flu from being introduced into Singapore," it added.

"While Singapore is free from bird flu, the disease is endemic in the region."

Both agencies also reminded travellers against bringing meat products into Singapore without a proper licence. The public can refer to AVA's website or download its free mobile app, SGTravelKaki, for more information on travellers' allowances for meat products from overseas travels.

The maximum penalty for importing meat products (including balut eggs) from unapproved sources is $50,000 and/or imprisonment of up to two years.