Home singapore Jail for man, 20, who smuggled 8 puppies from JB into Singapore; 6 died in modified car fuel tank

Jail for man, 20, who smuggled 8 puppies from JB into Singapore; 6 died in modified car fuel tank

Jail for man, 20, who smuggled 8 puppies from JB into Singapore; 6 died in modified car fuel tank
Claiming to be saddled with debt, Lam Ji Xiao jumped on an offer from a friend to run an errand in exchange for extra incomeThe task turned out to be smuggling eight puppies from Johor Bahru to Singapore in a modified fuel tank compartment of a carSix of the eight animals eventually diedLam was sentenced for illegal importation and not taking reasonable measures to prevent unnecessary suffering to the animals

By Taufiq Zalizan Published October 4, 2023 Updated October 4, 2023 Bookmark Bookmark Share WhatsApp Telegram Facebook Twitter Email LinkedIn

SINGAPORE — When offered a job by a friend to earn some extra income, 20-year-old Lam Ji Xiao readily agreed without asking any question, though he later admitted to the authorities that he did have some inkling that the errand was not entirely above board.

The task, as it turned out, was to smuggle eight puppies into Singapore in a modified fuel tank of a car. Six of the animals eventually died.

On Wednesday, Lam was sentenced by a district judge to 24 weeks’ imprisonment after pleading guilty to three counts of illegally importing animals into Singapore and another three for not taking steps to ensure that the animals were not subjected to unnecessary pain or suffering.

Another 10 charges were taken into consideration during the sentencing.

District Judge Lorraine Ho said that the punishment she imposed took into consideration Lam’s age — noting that the Malaysian might be the first person under the age of 21 prosecuted for such offences — and should not be taken as precedent for future cases involving older adults.


The court heard that Lam was in debt for an “unspecified amount” and so agreed to an offer by a Malaysian called “Alex” — whom the accused claimed to be his friend — to carry out a task for him in exchange for some money.

Court documents did not reveal how the duo became acquainted.

Sometime in mid-July, Alex informed Lam that the ownership of a car had been transferred to him (Lam) and that the vehicle was later sent for modification.

Mr Lim Chong Hui, a prosecutor from the National Parks Board (NParks), said that at neither occasions did Lam probe Alex for more details or the reasons behind the actions.

On July 22, Lam was instructed to collect the modified car from a car park in Johor Bahru, Malaysia and drive it to a housing estate in Woodlands in Singapore and to contact Alex when he had done so.

However, when Lam arrived at Woodlands Checkpoint that day at about 10.50am, an inspection of the car uncovered the animals hidden in the modified tank compartment at the rear passenger seat.

Upon repeated prodding by District Judge Ho to tell the court about his family background, Lam said that he was the oldest of three children and had dropped out of school to start working at the age of 15.

While his father has a job, his mother is not working and suffers from depression. Only his younger brother knows that Lam has run afoul of the law in Singapore, he added.

Delivering her decision, District Judge Ho said that she had taken into account Lam’s age in calibrating the sentence.

She had said earlier that his case could possibly be the first of such cases involving an accused under the age of 21, to which Mr Lim of NParks said that he “believed so” as well.

TODAY has reached out to NParks for comment on this.

The judge said that as a youthful offender, Lam may be “more easily influenced than an adult” by his circumstances.

District Judge Ho stressed, though, that the sentence she was imposing for Lam was “commensurate” with the fact that he is a youthful offender, and “ought not to be used as a precedent” for future cases involving adult offenders.

For each count of illegally importing an animal, Lam could have been fined not more than S$10,000 or jailed up to 12 months, or both.

Each offence of not taking steps to ensure the animals were not subjected to unnecessary pain or suffering attracts a similar sentence of up to 12 months’ jail or a fine of not more than S$10,000, or both.