• Mon. Jun 17th, 2024

Australian police bust alleged lizard smuggling ring valued at $800,000

[ad_1]

A suspect is taken into custody in Sydney, and some of the 257 lizards were seized by police in New South Wales during the investigation. — NSW Police
A suspect is taken into custody in Sydney, and some of the 257 lizards were seized by police in New South Wales during the investigation. — NSW Police 

Australian authorities have thwarted an illicit smuggling ring attempting to export native lizards and reptiles, estimating the total worth at over 1.2 million Australian dollars ($800,000) to Hong Kong. 

According to CNN, the operation, initiated in September 2023, led to the arrest of three men aged 54, 59, and 31, along with a 41-year-old woman in Sydney, according to a statement from New South Wales Police.

During the investigation, nine packages containing 59 live lizards bound for Hong Kong were intercepted. The police allege that the criminal group captured these native Australian reptiles, keeping them in poor conditions and binding them in small containers for export and profit.

The lizards were worth an average of 5,000 Australian dollars ($3,350) each.—NSW Police
The lizards were worth an average of 5,000 Australian dollars ($3,350) each.—NSW Police

All four suspects are slated to appear in court in January, facing charges related to the illegal export of wildlife. A total of 257 lizards and three snakes were discovered during the probe, both in packages and at addresses associated with the group. 

The reptiles were subsequently examined by a vet and released back into the wild after being taken to various zoos and wildlife parks.

The police estimate the value of each lizard at around 5,000 Australian dollars ($3,350), reaching a cumulative total of approximately 1.285 million Australian dollars ($860,000). 

The authorities did not disclose the motive behind the alleged smuggling, but Hong Kong has been known as a hotspot for illegal wildlife trade, given its bustling port and gateway status to mainland China.

The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Hong Kong notes the increasing popularity of exotic pets in the region, with rare species like turtles, tortoises, snakes, lizards, parrots, sugar gliders, hedgehogs, and scorpions traded as pets, highlighting the challenges associated with wildlife conservation in the face of such illicit activities.

[ad_2]

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *