Customs officials at the Huanggang port in Shenzhen, Guangdong province, recently apprehended a woman attempting to smuggle alien species into the Chinese mainland, as reported by Jiupai News, a Hubei province-based news portal on Saturday.
The customs officials were alerted by the woman's tight-fitting clothing and unusual walking posture as she arrived from Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. She was subsequently subjected to a thorough inspection.
Upon examination, customs officials discovered 15 snakes, including nine kingsnakes and six hognose snakes, along with four Scolopendra gigantea (a type of giant centipede) and one lizard. These live alien species were concealed in various locations on her person, including her waist, breast areas, and pockets. The confiscated animals have since been handed over to the relevant authorities.
The smuggling of live alien animals and plants into China without proper authorization is prohibited under the laws governing biosecurity and the inspection and quarantine of inbound and outbound animals and plants. Violators of these regulations face legal consequences as determined by customs authorities in accordance with the law.
The rising popularity of unconventional and exotic pets has contributed to an increase in the illegal introduction of such animals. This poses significant risks to the environment, as certain species have a strong adaptability to new environments and could lead to mass breeding, threatening local flora and fauna and disrupting the ecosystem.
Additionally, some exotic animals may have aggressive tendencies, potentially harming people. Furthermore, they may carry bacteria and germs that could impact public health.
The Huanggang port has seen several cases in recent months involving individuals attempting to smuggle alien species, such as snakes and centipedes, into the mainland. In July, a man was caught with 14 live snakes concealed in socks in his trouser pockets, and in the same month, a woman attempted to smuggle five live corn snakes in her breast area, all in violation of the law. Corn snakes are popular in the pet market for their docile and non-poisonous nature.