Man fined for releasing stingrays into reservoir

Larry Tan Chin Guan shot a video of himself releasing three stingrays into Lower Seletar Reservoir and put it on Facebook.
Larry Tan Chin Guan shot a video of himself releasing three stingrays into Lower Seletar Reservoir and put it on Facebook.

He uploaded onto Facebook a video of himself releasing three venomous stingrays into Lower Seletar Reservoir. But Larry Tan Chin Guan's online post stung him in the end when a netizen reported it to the authorities.

Tan, 48, who is unemployed, was fined $2,600 yesterday for releasing the motoro stingrays into the reservoir on June 2.

The Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) said this was the first time an offender has been hauled to court for abandoning stingrays.

AVA prosecutor Yap Teck Chuan said Tan bought four motoro stingrays from an aquarium in Yishun about a year ago, but one died weeks after the purchase.

He bought five black diamond stingrays in May and decided to release the three motoro stingrays into Lower Seletar Reservoir.

Between 3pm and 4pm on June 2, he placed the three stingrays in a bag with a portable air pump, drove for five minutes to a carpark near Orchid Country Club and walked to the reservoir. He then released them into the water.

Tan shot the video and uploaded it onto the SG Tiger Fish and Aquatic Livestock page on Facebook. A netizen who viewed it alerted national water agency PUB's communications department the next day.

Yesterday, Ms Khong Pui Pui, who is the PUB prosecutor, said the agency managed to track Tan down and contacted him for an interview at its office five days later.

She told the court: "These animals may not survive, and those few that are able to do so disrupt the ecological balance of the natural habitats by competing with the native species for resources. The release of non-native species into the water may also pose a risk to users of public water bodies."

Ms Khong said that since the incident, surveillance has been stepped up at the reservoir and fishing areas to look out for offenders releasing fish into the water.

"The PUB reservoir management team had to advise the People's Association and Sport Singapore that their water activity users were to put on appropriate footwear, and not to stand and walk in the reservoir's shallow area," she added.

The Straits Times understands that the stingrays have not been caught. The AVA had earlier told ST that motoro rays are allowed to be sold in aquariums as pets.They can deliver venomous stings that cause extreme pain and even death.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 27, 2017, with the headline 'Man fined for releasing stingrays into reservoir'. Print Edition | Subscribe