Acting on a tip-off on the illegal import of hard corals, the Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority (AVA) and the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA) worked with a logistics company to follow up on an imported consignment of corals from the Philippines, which had been declared as “plastic aquarium ornaments”. At the importer’s premises, AVA seized 75 hard corals and five soft corals wrapped in plastic bags lined with paper and concealed in ceramic mugs. The corals have since been placed under Resorts World Sentosa’s care.
All hard corals are protected species listed under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), and investigations found that they had been imported without a valid CITES permit. While the soft corals seized are not protected by CITES, they can only be imported with an AVA permit. The corals were also falsely declared as “plastic aquarium ornaments”.