A man in Singapore was caught smuggling four kittens, hidden in his pants. In this representational image, stray kittens sit in a cat box at Battersea Dogs and Cats Home in London, Aug. 18, 2009. Getty Images/ Dan Kitwood

A man in Singapore was caught smuggling four kittens, hidden in his pants when his car was stopped at a checkpoint in Tuas. The details of the incident were posted by Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) on Facebook, Friday.

“On 2 Jan, ICA officers detected four live kittens concealed in the pants of a 45-year-old male Singaporean in a Singapore-registered car at Tuas Checkpoint. Officers were prompted to conduct further checks when they heard ‘meowing’ sounds coming from a bulge in his pants. The case was referred to Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority of Singapore [AVA] for investigation,” the post said.

Authorities said the unnamed man had brought the kittens from Malaysia and was trying to bring them to the country. It was not immediately clear if the kittens hidden inside the man’s pants were declawed. The felines were rescued and placed under the protection of AVA.

Investigations into where the man purchased the kittens from is currently going on. It is not known whether the man was charged with animal abuse or other criminal intent. If he is found guilty under the Animals and Birds Act, which prohibits the importation of any animals or birds into Singapore without a proper license, the man could face a maximum penalty of a $10,000, imprisonment for up to a year, or both.

ICA further added that the health status of the animals the man was attempting to smuggle was not known, which meant they could be carrying an array of “exotic diseases, such as rabies.”

“Our borders are our first line of defense in safeguarding Singapore’s security. This method of concealment is a cause for concern as similar methods may be used by people with ill intent to smuggle security items into Singapore. The ICA will continue to conduct security checks to prevent smuggling attempts,” ICA’s post added.

The AVA penned a similar post on its Facebook page, which reiterated that it was “against the illegal import of live animals into Singapore to safeguard public and animal health.”

Animal smuggling incidents are not uncommon in Singapore. On Dec. 11, 2018, ICA wrote on Facebook of an instance where a 25-year-old man was investigated for attempting to smuggle 12 dogs across the border.

“During inspection, ICA officer noticed anomalies in the car boot and conducted further checks. Upon removing the spare tire and the cover of the spare tire compartment, the officer found 12 sedated puppies cramped in the compartment. Some were weak and three of them eventually died,” the post said.

The driver of the vehicle “did not possess valid health certificate and import permits,” and hence the dogs were rescued and placed under the care of the AVA.