By: A. Mollusk
In a dramatic turn of events, a family of giant clam shells have filed for asylum in Singapore, in what is a first for Singapore, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) shared in a press conference on Monday night.
According to the MHA, the giant clam shells were picked up from the shores of Pulau Gojong and brought into Singapore on a 60-foot schooner during a daring rescue trip, conducted by a group of part-time poachers, across the equator last month.
However, a triumphant photo of the poachers posing with the giant clam shells shared online sparked severe backlash from nationalist groups after it emerged that the giant clam shells had not complied with immigration laws and had intended to stay on indefinitely in Singapore by living in the display cabinet of one of the poachers.
Part-time poachers, led by Chief Poacher Martin Henz (centre), posing with the giant clam shells they rescued. They claim that they were engaged for this rescue mission by clam rights groups because of their poaching expertise and subsidised rates.
Protestors include Mr David Tan, a researcher at NUS, who said that it was “alarming” to see that the group had brought the family of giant clam shells back, pointing out that this act potentially violated local immigration laws covering animal parts, as well as the Act of the Republic of Indonesia No. 5(2) of August 1990.
Mr David Tan joins a growing chorus calling for the immediate deportation of the giant clam shells back to where they came from, and prosecution of the poachers. Chief poacher Martin Henz, however, maintains the legality and necessity of his group’s actions.
“The giant clam shells would have dissolved on that beach,” he said, “we had to do something”.
When contacted, the giant clam shells expressed hope that Singaporeans would rally behind their cause. Speaking through an interpreter, the giant clam shells said that “given the recent outrage by many Singaporean citizens over President Trump’s refugee ban in the US, I hope the Singapore Government will listen to the voice of the people who clearly want to save refugees like me.”
The MHA declined to comment specifically on the case, pending the outcome of the court’s decision, but maintained that “as a small country with limited land, Singapore is not in a position to accept any persons seeking political asylum or refugee status, regardless of their ethnicity or place of origin,” said an MHA spokesperson.
“Clams are no exception, especially giant clams which take up more space than ordinary clams,” he said.