Customs seize ball pythons, African squirrel from intl passenger in Chennai airport

Chennai, Sep 14 : Customs officials on Thursday early morning seized ball pythons and an African squirrel from a passenger who arrived from Thailand. The officials were checking the baggage of passengers who had reached Chennai international airport from Bangkok when they found a man under suspicious circumstances with two plastic bags. The Customs officers intercepted him and on inquiry he said that he was carrying plastic toys in the bags. However, on learning that the passenger was hiding something and that he was nervous, the customs team opened the baggage only to find two snakes and a squirrel. Wildlife officials and Tamil Nadu forest department officials reached the airport and further inquiry revealed that the snakes were ball pythons, while the squirrel was of African origin. The passengers informed the Customs officials that he bought the exotic wildlife at a low price in Thailand and was expecting to sell it at a higher price in Chennai. However, he did not have the required papers and seized the exotic animals which will be deported back to Thailand. The passenger was arrested and produced before judicial magistrate court. Notably, Chennai and other international airports in Tamil Nadu have been a hub of smuggling of exotic wildlife from far eastern countries. Tamil Nadu Police have also been on the pursuit of several people who used to smuggle in exotic animals into the country through the international airports of the state. /IANS


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