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Customs agency confirms arrest of wildlife smuggler, mum on details

05/21/2024 08:46 PM
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A customs officer inspects a suitcase in this CNA file photo
A customs officer inspects a suitcase in this CNA file photo

Taipei, May 21 (CNA) The Customs Administration on Tuesday confirmed that a woman entering Taiwan from Thailand was arrested on suspicion of wildlife trafficking, but declined to comment on media reports that she was caught with as many as 87 live animals taped to her body.

In a statement to CNA, Taipei Customs said the 64-year-old suspect had arrived in Taiwan on a flight from Thailand with a friend on Sunday evening.

Because the woman had a previous record of live animal smuggling, she was flagged for a search at customs, where live animals were found on her person, the office said.

According to local media reports, the woman was arrested with 87 live animals, including protected species and four types of monkeys, taped all over her body.

The species confiscated by authorities included a Sunda slow loris, common marmoset, Senegal bushbaby, Asian barred owlet, green iguana, Nile monitor, Indian star tortoise, Mekong snail-eating turtle and an elongated tortoise, the articles claimed.

The smuggled animals are expected to be euthanized by the Forestry and Nature Conservation Agency, with the possible exception of the Sunda slow loris, which is a Category 1 protected species, the reports said.

Asked about the reports, the customs office said it could not confirm the exact species or number of animals involved in the case, which has already been referred to prosecutors for investigation.

Customs officials will cooperate with any requests from the Forestry Agency, which is responsible for matters relating to the protection of endangered species, the office added.

(By Yeh Chen and Matthew Mazzetta)

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