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24 Dec, 2014

Chinese customs seize more than 3,000 crocodile skins

XIAMEN, (Xinhua) 2014-12-24 – Customs authorities in East China’s Fujian province seized a staggering 3,022 crocodile skins illegally shipped from Taiwan.

In mid-June, a Fujian-based trade company lodged a declaration for a batch of frozen fish balls from Taiwan, but later customs officers found 1,328 crocodile skins disguised by the fish balls in the port city Xiamen, according to a spokesman with the Xiamen Customs.

The customs’ investigation found that two Taiwanese businessmen imported the skins from Singapore, dyed them in Taiwan and paid a Taiwan logistics company to ship the skins to the mainland.

The Fujian-based company was commissioned by the logistics company to clear the goods at the Xiamen customs. The crocodile skins, often used as material for luxury handbags, were scheduled to be sent to Guangzhou, a major trading hub for leather products.

The Fujian company was found to have helped the logistics company traffick two batches of 1,694 crocodile skins in May and early June.

The case has been handed over to prosecutors, according to the spokesman.

The crocodile was listed in the Appendix II of The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), meaning that it was “not necessarily threatened with extinction”, but “trade must be controlled” to avoid over-exploitation.

The products derived from CITES-listed species need appropriate document to go through customs. China joined the convention in 1981.