Customs have seized 23 live turtles found in two in-bound air parcels arriving from New Delhi, India. The reptiles, which were confiscated at the airport on Thursday, are suspected to be an endangered species with an estimated value of HK$23,000.

Customs officials discovered them during an x-ray inspection of the parcels. The case was handed over to the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD).

turtle - airport luggage customs
One of the 23 turtles seized by customs at the airport. Photo: GovHK.

This is the second attempted import of a suspected endangered species via the postal system this month, and the tenth in the past two months. Previously, airport customs seized live turtles, cut ivory, red sandalwood and rhino horns.

The Protection of Endangered Species of Animals and Plants Ordinance states that any person found guilty of importing an endangered species without a licence and for commercial purposes is liable to a maximum fine of HK$5 million and imprisonment for two years.

Medhavi Arora is in her final year at the University of Hong Kong studying Journalism and International Relations. Her print, video and multimedia pieces have been featured in the Times of India and CNN-IBN. She is a former intern at UN Women and has additional experience in sustainability, international affairs and communications.