Aviation News

June 2, 2011

Hundreds of Endangered Turtles Found in Luggage at Bangok Airport

Thai airport customs officials discovered and seized 451 turtles packed into several suitcases after arriving from Bangladesh, officials said Thursday.

I like turtles kid

Director-General Prasong Poontanet of the Thai Customs Department told Thai News Agency MCOT that a suspected international smuggling syndicate of endangered species was allegedly responsible for the incident.

The 451 rare and endangered species of turtles – which included 140 small aquatic turtles, 35 Indian Star Tortoise (Geochelone elegans), seven soft-shelled turtles, seven gharials, a type of fresh water crocodile, one Asian narrow-headed soft-shelled turtle, and some other species of tortoises – were hidden in baggage on a plane from Dhaka, Bangladesh and arrived at the Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok, Thailand.

According to officials, the smuggled turtles were worth Bt 1 million ($33,000).

The animals were being taken care of at the airport’s Wildlife Checkpoint. They will be further analyzed and also used as evidence, as Thai customs officials issued a complaint at a local police station to locate and charge the alleged smuggling syndicate.

Thailand has signed an international agreement between governments to fight illegal trade of animal and plant species called the Convention of International Trade in Endangered Species.

  • Jay Jay

    This type of smuggling happens more frequently than many
    people realize. I think Thai officials don’t consistently enforce laws related
    to smuggling of rare or expensive animals into Thailand. It’s good they do
    enforce sometimes, but they really should be more regular about it. You could
    probably find much more smuggling that goes on here if you were to located detectives in Thailand to do independent research on it. These animals were probably supposed to go directly to Jatujak Market, a very large outdoor market
    in the north part of Bangkok. There’s no doubt that rare animals can generate
    huge profits on the “black market” in Thailand. In the past, there
    were illegal poaching in various parts of Thailand; but that doesn’t seem to be
    as common anymore. I suppose trafficking of both humans and rare animals yields
    much higher profit for the criminals involved in these types of businesses.