Singapore - A Singaporean man has been slapped with a 9 400-dollar fine for keeping 98 tarantulas at his home, local authorities say.
Tam Jiaming, 34, had initially aroused suspicion while attempting to cross the border in his car from Malaysia to Singapore in January this year, the immigration and checkpoints authority said in a statement late Wednesday.
When queried by immigration officials, Tam said he had nothing to declare. However, a routine check of the car turned up six of the hairy arachnids in individual plastic containers placed in a bag on the car's backseat.
A follow-up investigation at Tam's residence found an additional 92 tarantulas, which have since been confiscated and placed under the care of Wildlife Reserves Singapore.
It was not clear why the man had kept so many of them in his house.
Tam was fined for keeping and trading illegal wildlife and wildlife parts, the statement said.
A tarantula bite, while mildly venomous, is not known to cause human fatalities or long-term damage.
However, they are not approved to be kept as pets in Singapore, and some tarantula species are protected under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).
Singapore authorities have warned against the illegal import of live animals, as they may transmit diseases to human populations, fuel the demand for illegal wildlife trade and severely affect their populations in the wild.
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