Chennai Online
September 20, 2005

Star tortoises seized at Chennai airport

Chennai, Sept 20: About 350 endangered star
tortoises worth about Rs 3.5 lakh were seized
from a Malaysian national at Chennai airport's
Anna International Terminal in the wee hours of
today, a senior customs officials said.

Talking to reporters, Customs Commissioner C
Rajan said Sridaran Sogkalingam had completed
check-in and immigration formalities and was
passing through the customs channel to board a
Thai International Airways flight to Kuala
Lumpur.

The passenger was questioned by a group of
officers of Air Intelligence Unit of the Customs
led by superintendent M Srinivasa Reddy.

As the passenger appeared nervous, his checked-in
baggage consisting of a bag was screened which
revealed the tortoises.

The seized tortoises have been handed over to the
Tamil Nadu Forest Department officials, he said,
adding each star tortoise ranged between Rs 80
and Rs 100, while it was Rs 1,000 in Singapore,
Malaysia and Thailand.

About 1,000 star tortoises were seized in July
last.