Plucking fruits from public trees could land you a S$50,000 fine, Lawrence Wong says

The rare twin-apple tree is one of Singapore’s many fruit trees.

If you see a tree’s fallen fruit on the ground while walking around Singapore, don’t pick it up.

Doing so could land you a S$5,000 fine – or worse, a S$50,000 fine and/or six months’ jail, if you’re in a nature reserve or national park.

The unusual law under the Parks and Trees Act was brought up again on Monday (Oct 7) by Minister for National Development Lawrence Wong while responding to questions posed by MP Darryl David.

“Members of the public who wish to pluck fruit from trees, or collect fruit that has dropped from trees on state land, should approach NParks for permission,” the minister said, adding that the fruits – like the trees – belong to the state.

A similar law also penalises people for plucking leaves and removing plants from public areas.

Last year, an offender was fined S$3,000 for taking two critically endangered Singapore Kopsia saplings from a park, The Straits Times (ST) reported.

In 2011, NParks said the fruits on state trees were eaten by native animals like the Asian glossy starling, ST said.

There was also a chance people could damage the trees if they tried to remove fruit using methods like throwing rocks or poking them with bamboo poles. This could tear the bark and expose it to viruses, ST quoted NParks as saying.

Fruits that grow on trees in Singapore include mango, papaya, durian, custard apple, mangosteen, rose apple, hairless rambutan, island lychee, and tamarind.

Some of them are first cultivated at the Pasir Panjang nursery before being planted around the country, ST added.

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