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Posted by W von Papinešu on November 13, 2002 at 12:07:32:
STRAITS TIMES (Singapore) 13 November 02 Live snakes and geckos in the mailbag (Low Siok Hwee)
Two small snakes slithering out of a mailbag at Singapore Post in Eunos sent Customs officers rushing for an X-ray machine on Monday morning.
They found, buried in the bag, a parcel filled with live snakes and geckos. It was addressed to a fictitious person.
At about 1 pm, a 22-year-old man turned up at the Eunos office to collect it, saying he was the recipient.
He had earlier called Singapore Post to ask them not to deliver it. He said he would collect it personally.
The man, who had just completed his National Service, has been detained and referred to the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA), which issues permits for the import of animals.
AVA found 14 baby milk snakes and six geckos in the parcel, which Customs & Excise passed to it.
The Customs department, which does routine checks of packages from abroad, said in a statement yesterday that the parcel was declared as candies and sent from the United States.
The reptiles are valued at about $3,000 and do not belong to an endangered species.
AVA corporate communications manager Goh Shih Yong said it is investigating the case and intends to charge the man under the Wild Animals and Birds Act.
The Act requires a person to get an AVA permit for importing animals.
Those who fail to do so can be fined up to $1,000 for each animal imported.
'Wild animals, like snakes, can be a danger to the importers and their neighbours because they are not familiar with the animals,' said Mr Goh.
AVA has given the reptiles to the Singapore Zoo.