The Macau Customs Service said in a statement Thursday that they seized 78 tiger fangs weighing 1.7 kg and 69 tiger claws weighing 190 grammes disguised as egg rolls on Wednesday.
According to the statement cited by The Macau Post Daily, the fangs and claws were discovered in the luggage of a mainland man in his fifties.
The statement said that Customs officers had strengthened the inspection of travellers passing checkpoints in the city’s ferry terminals after two cases of smuggling endangered animal parts were busted earlier this month, which involved people illegally bringing raw ivory into the city by disguising the contraband as chocolate bars.
Customs officers on duty at the Temporary Taipa Ferry Terminal in Pac On on Wednesday requested one of the passengers who arrived on a ferry directly from Hong Kong International Airport to put his suitcase through the X-ray machine.
After checking the images on the X-ray the officers thought the items in the suitcase looked “suspicious” and asked the man to open his luggage. The officers found 78 tiger fangs and 69 tiger claws wrapped in aluminium foil, hidden under egg rolls in four Monde Serena Egg Role boxes. The officers also found eight bear gall bladders, 30 boxes of untaxed cigarettes, one kilogramme of frozen bird’s nests and 7.5 kg of soft-shelled turtle meat in the suitcase.
Later staff members of the Civic and Municipal Affairs Bureau (IACM) were asked to check the tiger fangs and claws and the bear gall bladders. The IACM staff confirmed them to be protected under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), the Customs Service said in the statement.
The man flew from Indonesia to Hong Kong and admitted that a friend in Indonesia had asked him to take the contraband to mainland China, according to the statement.
The Customs Service said in the statement that the substances would be confiscated once it was proved that the man had breached the External Trade Law and violated CITES rules.
The maximum fine is 100,000 patacas for violating the External Trade Law. The maximum fine for breaching CITES is a paltry 5,000 patacas.(macaunews)