Source: Times of India
Date: August 2, 2008

950 star tortoises seized from air passenger in Chennai

CHENNAI: As many as 950 live tortoises, an endangered species, were seized by the Customs officials from a passenger of a flight bound for Bangkok via Colombo at the airport in Chennai on Saturday morning.

A Customs press release said the tortoises were found in the baggage of Ibramsa Abubacker, a city resident, when the officials intercepted him based on specific intelligence.

He admitted to the officials that he was lured by an offer of Rs 3,000 by an unknown person for carrying the bag containing the tortoises.

Abubacker was handed over to the wild life authorities along with the tortoises for further action, the release said.

This was one of the biggest haul of star tortoises in recent times, the release said adding that the worth of the tortoises was Rs 6.65 lakh.