Surprise Find For Customs Officials As Passenger Tries To Smuggle 63 Reptiles

Looking like giant Easter eggs wrapped up in tape, customs officials have seized 63 live turtles from a passenger arriving on a flight from Malaysia.

The turtles, which have not yet been identified by authorities at the Hong Kong International Airport, say they are suspected of being endangered species and have an estimated market value of almost MYR 500,000 or HKD 819,000 (GBP 83,336).

Hong Kong Customs said in a statement the 37-year-old male passenger was in transit from Malaysia to the Philippines on 1st April when the incident occurred.

The turtles were reportedly found during an inspection of the unnamed man’s checked baggage.

Photo shows turtles found inside the baggage of a passenger at the airport in Hong Kong on April 1, 2024. The seized 63 turtles have a market value of HKD 819,000 (GBP 83,336). (Hong Kong Customs/AsiaWire)

The statement said: “Upon inspection by officers of the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department, the live turtles were (found and) suspected to be endangered species listed in the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora and regulated under the Protection of Endangered Species of Animals and Plants Ordinance (Cap. 586) in Hong Kong.

“The case has been handed over to the department for follow-up action. Hong Kong Customs reminds the public not to carry controlled items into and out of Hong Kong.”

According to Hong Kong law, if someone brings in, takes out, or possesses an endangered species without permission, they are liable to legal punishment. They could be fined up to HKD 10 million (GBP 1 million) and face up to 10 years in jail if found guilty.

To find out more about the author, editor or agency that supplied this story – please click below. Story By: Aloysius Fernandes, Sub-Editor: Simona Kitanovska, Agency: Asia Wire Report

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