HK$8m haul of smuggled seahorse and crocodile meat seized

PUBLISHED : Monday, 07 January, 2013, 7:22pm
UPDATED : Monday, 07 January, 2013, 7:29pm

Customs officers seized a huge haul of endangered seahorses and crocodile meat being smuggled into the city in a container of exotic food worth HK$8 million.

The 579kg of dried crocodile meat and 311kg of dried seahorses were hidden in a truck container marked “deer antlers”, along with birds’ nests, dried deer tails and dried geckos.

A 52-year-old local truck driver was arrested after customs intercepted the truck at the Lok Ma Chau checkpoint on Saturday.

“Among the seizures, the dried crocodile meat and dried seahorses were endangered species,” customs said.

A spokeswoman said the exact names of the species were not immediately available.

Seahorses are coveted in parts of Asia for their supposed medicinal and aphrodisiac properties.

Under Hong Kong law, anyone found guilty of smuggling cargo into the city faces up to seven years’ jail and a maximum fine of HK$2 million.

In addition, those guilty of importing, exporting or possessing an endangered species for commercial purposes face up to two years in jail and a maximum HK$5 million fine.

The latest bust comes after customs last week made their third large seizure of illegal ivory in less than three months, intercepting 779 pieces of tusk that weighed over a tonne, worth HK$10.6 million.