BANGKOK – Thai customs officials arrested two Japanese men Friday at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport as they allegedly tried to smuggle exotic and endangered animals to Japan.
The officials said the men from Shizuoka Prefecture had pig-nosed turtles, woodchucks, lizards and snakes packed in small boxes, cages and plastic bags inside large suitcases.
Among the cache were 110 turtles, four woodchucks, nine lizards and several exotic snakes.
One of the men was booked on a flight to Tokyo while the other was to take a flight to Nagoya.
According to investigators, the men said they had been hired to buy the animals at Bangkok’s weekend Chatuchak Market and take them to Japan.
Police said the men, who have been charged with smuggling wild animals, offered no other information about their plans or potential buyers in Japan.
They will also face charges under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.
Pig-nosed turtles, woodchucks, and snakes are among species listed in the convention as requiring permission for export.
The men could face up to four years in prison, a customs official said.
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