Man arrested over smuggling of 150 live turtles into Hong Kong from mainland China
The animals, packed into the man’s luggage, are suspected to be an endangered species with a total estimated value of HK$30,000
A 19-year-old man has been arrested in Hong Kong over the smuggling of 150 live turtles – suspected to be an endangered species – from mainland China, the second case involving such animals in a month.
Officers from the Customs and Excise Department detained the man at Shenzhen Bay Control Point on Tuesday after intercepting a Hong Kong-bound car he was travelling in.
“Customs officers found the live turtles inside the luggage of a passenger,” the department said in a statement, adding the animals had an estimated street value of HK$30,000 (US$3,800).
The case was handed over to the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department for follow-up.
In Hong Kong, importing or exporting an endangered species without a licence carries a maximum penalty of two years in jail and a HK$5 million fine under the Protection of Endangered Species of Animals and Plants Ordinance.
In a similar case on April 6, customs seized two suspected endangered turtles worth HK$1,000 and arrested an outbound passenger, aged 29, at Lok Ma Chau Spur Line Control Point as he was heading for Shenzhen.
Authorities suspected the case earlier this month also involved cruelty to animals because the turtles’ bodies and limbs were wrapped in plastic.
Under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Ordinance, offenders face a maximum penalty of three years’ imprisonment and a fine of up to HK$200,000.