— News from the Customs:


Remember the film “RIO”, which was a box office success in 2011? In the film, two endangered blue macaws were caught by the smugglers and ran away successfully at last. The film tuned into a real-life story! On August 23, 147 precious macaws, a thousand sparrows and some turtles were saved by customs officers, announced Shenzhen Customs District.

In late August, Shenzhen Customs District got the information that some smugglers would try to smuggle in wild animals from abroad. After an extensive information analysis, customs officers drew the preliminary conclusion that the smugglers would firstly get in the animals in speedboat through a costal place where there is no customs presence and then ferry the “goods” to inland areas by car. Consequently, the customs administration beefed up the patrol and control on the costal areas without customs presence. Customs officers stayed and watched carefully in the offshore areas where Typhoon Tan’mei at that time was pounding by bringing in strong wind and producing huge waves on the sea. Despite of the bad weather, customs officers did their job carefully. They waited there patiently for the prey.

It was not until 1 am on August 23 that the suspects had shown up, which made all the endeavors made by customs officers worthwhile. Customs officers found a van on a seaside road in the eastern part of Shenzhen. The driver talked over the phone often, making it apparent that he was waiting for someone. Customs officers, who were shrewd observers, kept a close watch on the van, as they thought the vehicle might be there to fetch the “goods”. Just as they had expected, not long after, they heard the weak “putt-putt” sound made by a high speed boat, which would be easily missed in the whistling and boom made by the wind and wave. Customs officers then noticed a speedboat that was approaching the beach in a high speed with vague shadows of a dozen of boxes on it. When it arrived, people on the boat and in the van unloaded all “goods” quickly and put them into the van.

“Action!” , the customs commander then gave the order decisively when he felt it was the right moment. But the cunning driver who did not turn off the engine when uploading the “goods’ drove the car and ran away. Customs officers chased and stopped the van at last.

There were a dozen of tightly wrapped cages and foamed plastic boxes in the van. When opening the packing, customs officers saw parrots, turtles and birds that crowded the cages. Some of the birds were dead already. These wild animals were ferried to Hong Kong from Mali in Africa and then were smuggled in by sea transport, said customs officers after investigation.

Customs officers contacted Shenzhen Wildlife Rescue Center to help the wild animals. The center later confirmed that some of the birds are macaws which are listed in the international conventions on wildlife protection and protected by the State.

All together, 147 macaws, 422 tortoises and a thousand Java sparrows were seized, according to customs officers.




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Photo/source: General Administration of Customs of the People’s Republic of China

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