Singapore man fined S$5,000 for moving pangolin from one reservoir to another because there were ‘too many ants’

When a passerby spotted Chong Soo Yong and another man placing the endangered animal in their van, they said they were doing it for the pangolin’s safety because there were too many ants in the area. — Reuters pic
When a passerby spotted Chong Soo Yong and another man placing the endangered animal in their van, they said they were doing it for the pangolin’s safety because there were too many ants in the area. — Reuters pic

SINGAPORE, Nov 4 — A 56-year-old man was sentenced to a S$5,000 (RM15,355) fine today for moving a pangolin from Upper Seletar Reservoir Park to Lower Peirce Reservoir.

When a passerby spotted Chong Soo Yong and another man placing the endangered animal in their van, they said they were doing it for the pangolin’s safety because there were too many ants in the area.

But National Parks Board (NParks) prosecutor Packer Mohammad countered that they were not looking out for its best interests as pangolins feed on ants or termites.

Pangolins are protected under the Endangered Species (Import and Export) Act. 

Chong pleaded guilty to one count of illegally displacing an animal within a nature reserve, an offence under the Parks and Trees Act. Upper Seletar Reservoir Park is located within the Central Catchment Nature Reserve.

The court heard that at about 1.30am on October 6 last year, Chong and another man, only identified as Tommy, drove a company van there.

They saw the pangolin on a grass patch. Tommy carried it by its tail, placed it in a bag and put the bag in the van.

The passerby spotted both of them doing this and questioned them. They replied that there were “too many ants in the area” and were removing the pangolin for its safety, Packer told the court.

When the passerby told them to release it, they got into the van instead and drove away. He followed them closely.

Chong and Tommy made a few U-turns and drove towards Upper Thomson Road, before getting to Lower Peirce Reservoir. They released the pangolin on a grass verge before leaving.

The passerby then contacted NParks about what he had seen.

Chong later admitted to displacing it but he refused to give authorities any details about Tommy.

When asked if he had anything to say in mitigation, Chong said he did not.

He could have been jailed up to six months or fined up to S$50,000, or both. — TODAY

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