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Louis Ng Kok Kwang

 


STRONGER MEASURES TO FIGHT THE WILDLIFE TRADE

Even though it is heartbreaking to hear that 48,000 pangolins were killed for this shipment, thank you NParks for putting a huge dent!

We are glad that there were detailed discussions on additional measures and hear on the steps considered by #MinistryofNationalDevelopment to tackle the ever increasing challenges in detection!



[ So many lives lost... ]It’s good news that we are strengthening our efforts to tackle wildlife crime and also exploring new technology to strengthen our border checkpoints 👍It’s also good news that we managed to intercept 2 shipments of pangolin scales within a week but absolutely heartbreaking that just for these shipments, 38,000 pangolins were killed 💔38,000 is a huge number and this might just be a small percentage of this illicit trade we are detecting. Is there a trade that goes through Singapore undetected and what can we do to stop this. Spoke up about this in Parliament. Check out the video for the debate I had with SPS Sun Xueling. You can also read it here.Mr Louis Ng Kok Kwang asked the Minister for National Development (a) apart from relying on tip-offs and the risk assessment framework, what are the current efforts to deter and detect the international trade of pangolins in Singapore; (b) whether the Ministry can use the Multi-Mode Passive Detection System Generation 3 to detect wildlife products in shipments; and (c) whether the Ministry is exploring the use of other technologies to detect shipments of pangolins.The Senior Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for National Development (Ms Sun Xueling) (for the Minister for National Development): Singapore adopts a whole-of-Government and multi-pronged approach to combat illegal wildlife trade, including the trade of pangolins. First, NParks works closely with Singapore Customs (SC) and the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) to identify cargo for further inspection via tip-offs and a risk assessment framework. Risk profiles and indicators are reviewed regularly to ensure that the framework remains robust. This approach has led to two successful seizures of nearly 26 tonnes of pangolin scales in April 2019.Second, our enforcement agencies use technology to screen and check travellers and goods at our checkpoints. For example, ICA uses radiographic scanners and hand-held screening devices to ensure that goods that enter Singapore are lawful and legitimate. The Member mentioned the Multi-Mode Passive Detection System, or MMPDS. MHA and ICA are currently testing a prototype of the MMPDS. Depending on the outcome of this testing, ICA can work with NParks to use this technology to detect the smuggling of illegal wildlife products. We will continually review our enforcement measures to adopt more effective technology and methods where feasible.Third, we cooperate closely with our regional and international counterparts to combat illegal wildlife trade. For instance, our agencies assess intelligence reports from our partners and work with them to act upon credible and actionable information. Our officers also attend international conferences and workshops to keep up with developments in the field as well as to share best practices.Finally, while the Government will continue to enforce to reduce supply, tackling illegal wildlife trade requires the concerted efforts of all stakeholders, including buyers reducing demand for such products. NParks conducts public awareness campaigns to discourage people from buying illegal wildlife and wildlife products, including pangolins. Members of the public can do their part to reduce demand by rejecting these products and encouraging others to do the same.Mr Louis Ng Kok Kwang (Nee Soon): I thank the Senior Parliamentary Secretary for the reply. I think one of the problems may be that the chances of detecting this shipment may be too low. So, the first clarification is: how are we stepping up our detection capabilities at our checkpoints? Beyond the technologies that she mentioned, are we looking into further technologies? Two, whether MND can work with the local tech companies to develop this kind of new technologies that will help to increase our detection capabilities. And three and the last clarification is, whether we can increase manpower in the enforcement team at NParks that is tackling wildlife crime issues here in Singapore.Ms Sun Xueling: I thank the Member for his three supplementary questions. On the point he made about further use of technology, all cargo currently passing through our checkpoints are subject to risk assessment. In my earlier reply, I had responded as to how our enforcement agencies currently use radiographic scanners and handheld screening devices to ensure that the goods that enter are lawful are legitimate. And we are continually reviewing our enforcement measures and the types of technologies that are available in the market to further improve our efficiency and efficacy at it.In his second, the Member has asked about whether or not we can work with local tech companies. Indeed, we are open to doing so. So, if he is aware of the local tech companies and the products that they have, please feel free to let me know of these contacts and our agencies will follow up with them.Lastly, about increasing manpower at NParks, that is something I think the NParks management will look at. And I think annually, they will make their revisions or updates as and when necessary.Mr Louis Ng Kok Kwang: I thank the Senior Parliamentary Secretary for the reply again. I think one of the concerns is whether we are able to use this technology for all the cargo that is coming in at our port. It is a little bit easier at the airport and the land checkpoints but at the port, I think there is difficulty using some of these scanners when the containers are on-board the ship. So, is MND looking into this?The point about the manpower, I think, is a very real one. I worked with the officers on Saturday or Sunday over the last weekend and they really are constrained in terms of manpower and responding to these cases in Singapore. So, I hope MND can consider increasing their manpower so that we can be able to tackle this trade more effectively.Ms Sun Xueling: I thank the Member for his two points. On the first point, for our air and land checkpoints, all incoming cargo is scanned. And indeed, for our seaports, there is a large volume that we have. So, selected cargo that is identified during upstream risk assessment will be scanned. I would like to provide maybe more details on how that is done.We have a risk assessment framework that I mentioned earlier. It allows us to target high-risk entities that may be involved illegal wildlife trade. So, when we have the Singapore National Single Window for trade declaration, known as TradeNet, it receives and processes information declared by traders prior to the arrival or departure of cargo and our risk profiles are applied to this information to identify shipments for further inspection. So, to ensure that our risk profiles remain current and effective, our enforcement agencies regularly review and update these risk profiles, with information from seizure cases, international reports on illegal wildlife tracking and in-house seizure analysis.But I take the point that the Member made that if there is better technology available that allows us to scan greater volume of cargo, more effectively, more efficiently, we will definitely do so. And that is why we are conducting the pilot on the MMPDS that he had mentioned. But as it is a pilot, we will have to work with the vendor to see how we can improve the information set, the details and the data that we gather and see if it is effective. Then, we will look at using it in future.What do you think 🤔Help “Share” and spread the word 😊 Thanks!#LouisNgParliamentaryQuestions#WeLoveNeeSoonEast#NeeSoonCares #HomeWithAHeartMinistry of National DevelopmentNParksACRES: Animal Concerns Research and Education Society (Singapore)

Source: https://www.facebook.com/LouisNgKokKwang/videos/654999704953..



 

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ACRES

ACRES (Animal Concerns Research & Education Society) is a pioneering Singapore-based charity and Institution of Public Character, founded by Singaporeans in 2001 with the aim of promoting animal welfare.

ACRES has six focus areas: Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation, Wildlife Crime Investigation, Zoo Animal Welfare, Humane Education, Community Outreach and Promoting Cruelty-Free Living.

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