Monday 10 February 2020

Man found guilty of smuggling £50m worth of live eels out of UK

Gilbert Khoo transported endangered ‘glass eels’ to Hong Kong hidden beneath other fish

A seafood salesman has been found guilty of smuggling more than £53m worth of endangered live eels out of the UK.

Gilbert Khoo, 66, transported the rare elvers from London to Hong Kong hidden underneath other fish between 2015 and 2017.

He was caught after Border Force officers found 200kg of the European “glass eels” (Anguilla anguilla), which are critically endangered, at Heathrow airport in the first seizure of its kind in the UK.

Khoo was found guilty of three counts of failure to notify movement of animals and three counts of evasion of a prohibition or restriction on the export of goods at Southwark crown court on Friday.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said he smuggled more than five million elvers over a two-year period with an estimated retail value of more than £53m in east Asia.

A picture released by the National Crime Agency (NCA) shows him holding two gold bars. The NCA senior investigating officer, Ian Truby, said: “The entire operation run by Khoo to trade in these critically endangered animals was illegal from start to finish, and there is no doubt his sole motivation was money.

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