SINGAPORE — Two bird trappers who caught birds without permits were each fined on Wednesday (16 September), amid an increase in such poaching offences.
Koay Soon Lye, 68, was fined $800, while Lim Thiam Hay, 67, was fined $1,200. In Lim’s case, the spotted dove he caught died from dehydration. Both men are Singaporeans.
Koay, a bird hobbyist, was caught after a member of the public complained about a poaching incident on the land near 1 Brompton Road.
At about 10.40am on 30 March last year, two National Parks Board (NParks) officers responded to the feedback and located Koay. They found a wild live Scarlet-backed Flowerpecker caught within a nylon mesh bag.
Koay had with him trapping paraphernalia such as glue, wire lace and an electronic bird caller sound device. He admitted that he was intending to trap wild birds and brought along his tools on his bicycle.
Near a temple along Jalan Kayu, Koay caught the Scarlet-backed Flowerpecker with his devices. He had gone to 1 Brompton Road with the intention of capturing more but was unsuccessful.
Koay did not have a license issued by the Director-General of Wildlife Management to trap wild birds. He pleaded guilty to a charge under the Wild Animals and Birds Act for taking a wild animal or bird.
Lim was similarly caught after an unknown person called the police on 18 September last year about his illegal bird trapping act.
The incident happened at an open grass patch adjacent to 50 West Coast Ferry Road and within West Coast Park, which falls under the purview of NParks.
Lim had gone to the area at 11.15am that day and laid out a wire trap on the grass patch to trap spotted doves. He then left to buy lunch and returned at about 1.15pm, when he found a dead spotted dove caught in the trap. He buried the bird nearby.
A while later, the police arrived on scene and questioned Lim about the bird. The bird’s carcass was recovered from where it was buried.
A post mortem examination done by the Animal and Veterinary Services of NParks revealed that the spotted dove was in a dehydrated state but there was no evidence of injuries from external trauma.
Lim pleaded guilty to a charge under the Parks and Trees Regulations for using a wire trap to capture a bird without approval within a pu.
NParks prosecutor Wendy Tan said that Koay would have proceeded to another location to capture birds had he not been stopped by the authorities.
There has been an increase in bird poaching incidents and NParks has to take a firm stance against cases especially when the government’s policy was to keep Singapore a green city, said the prosecutor. A deterrent approach was needed to send a signal to would-be bird trappers, she added.
Koay and Lim – both unrepresented – asked for leniency and a light fine.
For catching a wild bird without a permit, Koay could have been fined up to $1,000, with the bird forfeited. Lim could have been fined up to $5,000 for capturing an animal with a device within a public park.
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