A man has been arrested in Hainan for illegally possessing 142 state-protected wild turtles. A spokesman for the Hainan fisheries supervision headquarters said it was the first arrest in the island province for an alleged violation of animal protection laws since the central government ordered enforcement efforts stepped up last month. 'The central government is hoping to save endangered species. The turtle dealer seriously violated the animal protection law and faces a jail term and fines,' the spokesman said. Wild green turtles, which range in size from 40kg to 190kg, enjoy second-level state protection. The turtles were discovered in Wenhouzai, Qionghai city, according to Xinhua. The agency said the turtles were in poor condition. Eleven had died from maltreatment, while 68 were sick or injured. About 60 healthy turtles were released back into the ocean. The sick and injured turtles are being treated and will be released when they can survive on their own. The Wenhouzai villager had allegedly bought turtles on several occasions. He was planning to sell them to a marine park in Wanning, Hainan, Xinhua said. Turtles are sold for food, for use in traditional Chinese medicine, for the exotic pet trade or for breeding. Traditional Chinese medical lore says turtle-based medications can help to purify the blood, cure diseases and bestow longevity and virility. Medicine made from the Chinese three-striped box turtle, reputedly a cure for cancer, is highly prized, and can sell for 1,200 yuan (HK$1,130) on the black market. Turtles are extinct in the wild in some parts of the country, according to the international conservation group Traffic East Asia.