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Last Updated: Wednesday, 10 January 2007, 12:28 GMT
Hong Kong animal smuggler held
Cobra snake (file image)
Snakes are eaten and used in traditional medicine in east Asia
A man with a suitcase full of rare and endangered animals including a live crocodile and 46 turtles and tortoises has been arrested at Hong Kong airport.

His bag was also found to contain six snakes and 11 flying squirrels, Hong Kong authorities said.

The man, who was travelling from Thailand, was charged with illegally importing animals and fined 16,000 Hong Kong dollars (1,000).

The unnamed man was also given a six-month suspended sentence.


A special import permit and health certification are needed to bring reptiles, birds and mammals into or through Hong Kong.

The crocodile was identified as a highly-endangered species, the Hong Kong Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department said in a statement.

Among the reptiles were black pond turtles, three-keeled land tortoises, radiated tortoises and true tortoises, all of which are endangered species.

The animals were intended to reach mainland China where they may have been used for food or traditional medicine.

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