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Attempted Smuggling of Two Live Reticulated Pythons Thwarted by ICA Officers at Tuas Checkpoint

            On 7 April 2022, officers from the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA) at Tuas Checkpoint conducted checks on a Malaysia-registered lorry transporting cement and uncovered a styrofoam box of live snakes.

2.          The styrofoam box, which was hidden in the lorry’s cabin area, was found to have multiple perforations on its sides. The Malaysian driver had initially claimed that the box contained food but upon further questioning, he admitted that it contained live snakes. (See Annex for photos)

3.          As the driver did not possess valid import permits, he was referred to the National Parks Board (NParks) for investigation. NParks examined the snakes at its Centre for Wildlife Rehabilitation. The snakes have been identified as Reticulated Pythons (Malayopython reticulatus), which is a species protected under Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), and are around 4.8m and 3.8m long.

4.          Illegal trade in wildlife threatens biodiversity and disrupts ecosystems around the world, and can also pose serious health risks, as it evades biosecurity and sanitary controls. The poor conditions and manner under which animals are smuggled could also cause them unnecessary suffering and even death. As such, NParks strictly regulates the import of animals to prevent the introduction of exotic diseases into Singapore, safeguard the health and welfare of animals, and to tackle illegal wildlife trade. Under the Endangered Species (Import and Export) Act, the importation of a scheduled species without a permit is an offence and carries a maximum penalty of $50,000 and/or imprisonment of up to two years.

5.          Safeguarding Singapore’s borders remains as the top priority for ICA. Those with ill intent could use similar methods of concealment to smuggle security items into Singapore. ICA will continue to stay vigilant and thwart any attempts to smuggle security or prohibited items into Singapore. NParks will continue to monitor and enforce against instances of illegal trade in wildlife. Those with information on suspected illegal wildlife trade activities can report them to NParks at 1800-476-1600, and information shared will be kept strictly confidential. The public can also help by not purchasing wildlife and keeping them as pets.

6.         The ICA and NParks would like to remind travellers against bringing live animals, including birds and insects, into Singapore without a proper permit. The public can refer to NParks’ website for more information on bringing back animals from overseas travels.


Malaysian-registered lorry transporting cement consignment
Photo 1 (ICA): The Malaysian-registered lorry transporting a consignment of cement that was stopped for checks at Tuas Checkpoint.

Styrofoam box with multiple perforations detected on its sides inside lorry's cabin area
Photo 2 (ICA): ICA officers detected a styrofoam box with multiple perforations on its sides inside the lorry’s cabin area.

Two live snakes wrapped in cloth
Photo 3 (ICA): The styrofoam box was found to contain two live snakes wrapped in cloth.

Seized Reticulated Python which is a species listed in CITES Appendix II
Photo 4 (NParks): One of the seized Reticulated Pythons, which is a species listed in CITES Appendix II.

9 APRIL 2022