Australian police bust million-dollar lizard smuggling ring
Australian police have apprehended an individual attempting to smuggle hundreds of lizards to Hong Kong. According to a police statement, 257 lizards and three snakes were seized, all found living in deplorable conditions.
According to Independent Turkish, the confiscated animals will be released back into the wild following their treatment.
Four individuals, including one woman, have been arrested in Sydney in connection with the case. The total value of the seized reptiles is estimated at 1.2 million Australian dollars (approximately 25 million lira).
In response to the interception of 59 lizards being smuggled to Hong Kong in September, Australian police established a new unit dedicated to such investigations.
Recently, a raid on a Sydney residence led to the discovery of 118 lizards, three snakes, 8 eggs, and 25 dead lizards.
The four suspects face up to 15 years in prison if convicted.
Hong Kong has emerged as a prominent hub in the international trade of exotic animals in recent years.
A 2021 study by the ADM Foundation revealed that over a five-year period, at least 4 million live animals were imported into Hong Kong from no fewer than 84 countries.