Wednesday, 20 February 2013

More than 2000 live snakes seized in Bangkok Airport

Year of the snake a bad omen for snakes
February 2013. Police found an extraordinary haul of more than 2,000 rat snakes and cobras, packed in blue mesh bags which were in turn hidden in over 200 polystyrene boxes; the snakes were part of a shipment declared as fresh fruit.

The shipment had been flown to Hong Kong from Thailand on 5th February where it was rejected by Hong Kong Customs and returned to Thailand as it lacked documentation. Thailand's CITES officials and Airport of Thailand officers co-operated to access the shipment upon its arrival in Bangkok. The boxes were then then inspected by the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation and found to contain the snakes.

Authorities told a press conference that the shipment belonged to exporter AK International Co Ltd. The case is being investigated under the Wild Animal Reservation and Protection Act (WARPA) and Thai Customs Laws. Snake species involved are protected under Thai laws and CITES legislation. TRAFFIC urged authorities in Thailand and Hong Kong to work together towards determining the parties behind the shipment.

600 cobras found in a truck
This seizure follows the discovery of 600 deadly cobras in the back of a truck at a checkpoint south of Bangkok last November. A suspect arrested in this case confessed to authorities that he was delivering the snakes to northeast Thailand where they were to be smuggled over the border into Laos.

As we enter the Chinese ‘Year of the snake', it should be noted that Zodiac animal themed items are usually in high demand every Chinese New Year. While these are usually decorations and trinkets made in the image of animals, occasionally the animal itself is in demand.

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