Chong Soo Yong was charged with a fine of Singaporean $5,000 for transporting a pangolin outside its territory. A resident of the Upper Seletar Reservoir Park, the pangolin was shifted to the Lower Peirce Reservoir by Yong and Tommy. When questioned in court, Yong said they were trying to keep it safe from the ant-infested area.
Pangolins are protected under the Endangered Species (Import and Export) Act.
Yong pleaded guilty to the charge of displacing the pangolin under the Parks and Trees Act. The incident took place on 6th October 2019 at around 1.30 am.
The National Parks Board had received information that two men were seen transporting a pangolin from the Upper Park that night. The Upper Seletar Reservoir Park is a gazetted catchment area under the Parks and Trees Act.
A Pangolin’s Journey
Investigating officers found that Chong was with another man who goes by the name of Tommy. They were in a van when they spotted the pangolin on a grass verge. Together they approached the pangolin, and Tommy took it up by its tail. They placed it in a bag and were trying to get away when a passerby noticed them.
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When a passerby confronted them, the two men said there were too many ants in the grass. Apparently, they were trying to save the pangolin from that. The passerby insisted they let go of the animal, but the men got in their van and rode off.
The passerby followed the van closely and saw Yong and Tommy releasing the animal near the Lower Reservoir.
Chong later acknowledged the incident but refused to give details to the authorities about Tommy. The prosecutor stated that Chong had no prior convictions and asked for a fine of S$500. He referred to a previous case of an animal being displaced, and the charge was S$ 1200 for the offense.
The prosecutor said that Chong was “not forthcoming” and unwilling to reveal Tommy’s details. “And his reasons for displacing the pangolin for the presence of ants … pangolins feed on ants!” the prosecutor added.
Chong chose to remain quiet.
Anyone who displaces or transports an animal from any area that comes under the Central Catchment Nature Reserve, gazetted under the Parks and Trees Act, can be charged with 6 months of jail time along with a fine of up to S$ 50,000.
Image Featured: Rahmat Nugroho