A 63-year-old woman was caught red-handed while importing 490 duck eggs illegally that contained developing embryos into Singapore. As a penalty for the offence, on Wednesday, October 3 she was fined $7,000.
The Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) and the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) jointly said in a statement that the accused, Le Thi Ung, was smuggling the eggs from a wet market in Vietnam.
The woman put those eggs, which is commonly known as balut, weighing a total of 78.4 kg inside in two styrofoam boxes in her luggage. After her arrival to Changi Airport last month, during checking ICA officer found these eggs. Later ICA referred this case to AVA for further investigation.
It was also revealed that the accused has breached the Wholesome Meat and Fish Act. AVA also stated that there are no approved sources for balut eggs.
As per the law, any person who, a) imports, exports or tranships any meat product or fish product without a licence; or b) fails to comply with any of the conditions of his licence, shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding $50,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 2 years or to both and, in the case of a second or subsequent conviction, to a fine not exceeding $100,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 3 years or to both.
As per AVA, the regulation was implemented for animal health and food safety reasons. So, such imports of illegal food products from unknown sources can cause safety issues and can bring diseases such as bird flu into the country. In addition to that ICA and AVA both have asked people not to bring meat products while coming to Singapore without a proper licence.