Turtles worth $120,000 seized from balcony in raid

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 30 April, 1997, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 30 April, 1997, 12:00am

Ten turtles worth more than $120,000 were seized from a Wan Chai flat by Agriculture and Fisheries Department officers yesterday.

The owner of the turtles, a 35-year-old man, was taken for questioning.

Department veterinary of ficer Dr Howard Wong Kai-hay said the trader had been selling turtles to rich residents as a gimmick for between $8,000 and $12,000.

'He put these flyers through people's letter boxes in rich areas like Kowloon Tong, saying: 'You are so rich. Why not have something unusual like a 100-year-old terrapin in your back garden?' ' Last month animal welfare campaigners warned that unscrupulous traders were exploiting the Buddhist tradition of releasing animals back into the wild.

The 80-centimetre turtles, known locally as temple terrapins, weighed up to 82 kilograms. They were cramped together on the Wan Chai flat's balcony without food or water, Dr Wong said.

Keeping turtles in such a condition could be unlawful under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Ordinance, he said.