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38-yr-old Singaporean jailed for illegal possession of protected wildlife

A Singaporean aquarium owner was jailed 8 weeks for illegal wildlife possession, hindering NParks officers; 69 live animals were seized from his farm.



SINGAPORE – Mohamed Arshad Mohamed Ayob, a 38-year-old Singaporean and owner of Tank Movers Aquatic Services, has been sentenced to eight weeks in jail after pleading guilty to multiple charges under the Wildlife Act.

The charges stemmed from his illegal possession of protected wildlife and hindering National Parks Board (NParks) officers from accessing his premises.

The saga began when NParks officers received a tip-off about suspected illegal wildlife keeping at Arshad’s segment of a fish farm leased from the National Parks Board.

Upon investigation on 10 November 2022, they discovered a trove of 69 live animals, including various species such as leopard geckos, California King snakes, sugar gliders, bearded dragons, and South American horned frogs.

Some of these animals were protected under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).

Arshad’s attempts to obstruct the officers further exacerbated his situation. When NParks officers arrived at the scene, Arshad initially lied about his whereabouts and later barricaded himself in a room, refusing to respond to their calls and knocks. He even went as far as smashing his phone to evade detection.

The severity of Arshad’s actions became evident as investigations unfolded. He had deliberately misled NParks officers about his activities and the condition of his equipment, including a functional CCTV system that captured his attempts to conceal illicit wildlife.

During the court proceedings, Arshad’s defence lawyer, S S Dhillon, painted a picture of a panicked individual who acted impulsively under pressure. Dhillon argued that Arshad’s actions were driven by fear and panic, emphasizing his client’s lack of criminal intent.

However, the prosecution countered by highlighting the magnitude of Arshad’s offense, noting it as the largest known case of illicit wildlife possession. Despite the absence of evidence indicating the intent to sell or export the animals, Arshad’s actions violated the Wildlife Act.

Mr Dhillon stated that the terrapin and turtles discovered on the site were given to Arshad by a customer during a tank delivery. Arshad kept them as a gesture of goodwill, seeking a shorter sentence.

The prosecution argued it was the largest wildlife offense, but Mr Dhillon countered, mentioning only 17 similar cases reported since 2001, diminishing their argument. He emphasized the absence of evidence for import, export, or sale.

Arshad could have been jailed for up to six months or fined up to S$10,000 for each charge of illegally keeping wildlife without approval or both.

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where did he even buy them? immigration checkports failed to find all these illegal animals, so they just target sinkie more easier? feels like the whole druglord and drug mules problem. is gahmen MAYBE in bed with wildlife smugglers too?

No worry, he will have a 50% re-offending rate and will again be possessing illegal wildlife in no time.
The 50% was a % mentioned by none other than those who run the country he is in!
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