Police in Australia confiscated hundreds of lizards

Police in Australia confiscated hundreds of lizards

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Police in Australia confiscated hundreds of lizards

Police say the reptiles had an estimated street value of A$1.2m (£633,000; $805,000). Image: NSW POLICE


Police in Australia confiscated hundreds of lizards.

Authorities claim to have “dismantled” a criminal organisation that had planned to transport hundreds of native lizards from Australia to Hong Kong illegally.

New South Wales Police estimated the market worth of the reptiles at A$1.2m (£633,000; $805,000).

In Sydney, three men and a woman have been taken into custody.

Police reportedly found 257 lizards and three snakes that had been housed in subpar conditions. After receiving care, they were let back into the wild.

September saw the police form a taskforce to look into the suspected smugglers following the discovery of 59 live lizards in nine tiny containers en route to Hong Kong.

In the last several weeks, officers have carried out a number of raids throughout New South Wales.

They found 118 lizards, three snakes, eight eggs, and 25 dead lizards in one Sydney residence. When a remote Grenfell property was searched, four lizards concealed in bags were found.

The four suspects, who are all between the ages of 31 and 59, are accused of crimes such as dealing with the proceeds of crime, exporting native reptiles, and joining a criminal organisation.

They could spend up to 15 years behind bars if found guilty.

Following their appearance in court over the weekend, two of the men were denied bail.

The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) reports that Hong Kong has become the dominant player in the international trafficking of a variety of exotic animals in recent decades.

Four million live animals from at least 84 nations were imported into the city over a five-year period, according to a 2021 report released by the ADM Capital Foundation.

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