Hainan customs officers have arrested 16 smugglers and seized an incredible 24,697 pieces of python skin worth an estimated 310 million yuan ($47.8 million). You won’t be surprised to learn that this is being called “China’s biggest python skin bust in history.”
According to NetEase, officers in Hainan received a tip-off last January and launched a year-long investigation across various Chinese cities to track down the smuggling ring. Considering their success, maybe they should also be put on the vaccine case as well.
The suspects confessed that their group had worked with overseas suppliers as well as a Vietnamese proxy company in order to smuggle the skins into China.
Pythons are considered a first-class nationally protected species, trading and smuggling in python products is strictly prohibited in China.
However, that hasn’t stopped smugglers from trying to feed the Chinese luxury market’s unquenchable thirst for endangered species.
Last year, Shandong police busted a smuggling ring with 961 pieces of python skin. Amateurs.
By Lucy Liu
[Images via NetEase]