Live Tortoises, Otters Smuggled into Taiwan, Discovered Crawling in Plane’s Cabin

Fri Oct 06 2023
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BANGKOK: In a bizarre incident, more than 30 live animals, including baby otters, tortoises, and a marmot, were smuggled onto a Thai Vietjet flight to Taiwan. The unusual menagerie was seized upon the flight’s arrival at Taipei’s Taoyuan airport, where several of the animals were found crawling around the plane’s cabin, alerting authorities to the illegal cargo.

Reports suggest that the animals were discovered due to their escapades in the cabin, prompting investigations into the smuggling attempt. The animals had slipped through airport screening procedures at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi airport, with authorities citing human error as the cause.

Tortoises, Otters and Marmot Smuggling Attempt

According to a statement from the airport, two foreigners had their luggage scanned through an X-ray machine, but a staff member failed to inspect the bags thoroughly. Although suspicions were raised, the luggage was not properly checked, allowing the passengers to board the flight undetected.

As a result of this lapse, the airport has suspended the staff member responsible for the oversight pending a probe into the incident. Meanwhile, Taiwanese authorities have launched an investigation into the suspected smugglers.

Thailand serves as a major transit hub for wildlife smugglers, who often traffic exotic animals to countries like China and Vietnam, contributing to the illicit wildlife trade.

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