600 star tortoises seized at airport

October 31, 2007

Special Correspondent

Man from Sivaganga bound for Malaysia arrested

CHENNAI: Customs officials at the Anna international terminal arrested a 35-year-old man and seized 600 star tortoises on Monday.

C. Rajan, Commissioner of Customs (Airport), said Abuthalibu, of Ilayangudi in Sivaganga district, was on his way to board a Kuala Lumpur-bound Malaysian Airlines flight after completing the customs and immigration formalities.

On suspicion, the officials questioned him about the contents of his baggage. He told them that it contained only personal belongings.

When the authorities asked the passenger to bring his baggage, he said it was already loaded on to the flight.

The baggage was then brought back and a check revealed the presence of star tortoises of various sizes.

A senior officer said that on all the three occasions in which the star tortoises were sought to be smuggled through the airport recently, the passengers invariably managed to bypass the scanning of baggage by fixing the old security strap on them.

Customs officials felt that both Central Industry Security Force personnel and the ground staff of the airlines should check whether the security strap was fresh or used.

Another officer suggested that the scanning machines be kept near the entrance of the departure hall to prevent the passenger wandering freely and avoiding baggage scanning.


 Star tortoises seized

Special Correspondent

CHENNAI: Officials of the Customs Air Intelligence Unit seized 555 star
tortoises from a Kuala Lumpur-bound passenger at the Anna international
terminal on Friday.

C. Rajan, Commissioner of Customs (Airport), said the passenger concealed
the 200 big-sized tortoises in four cloth bags and the remaining reptiles
were kept in perforated plastic containers.

The passenger was arrested.



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