Japanese man arrested for attempting to smuggle 9 lizards out of Australia


A 36-year-old Japanese man has appeared before the Perth Magistrates Court charged with attempting to smuggle nine shingleback skinks out of Western Australia.

The Australian Customs and Border Protection Service said in a statement Thursday that the man was stopped at Perth International Airport on Monday after X-rays indicated there were lizards in his baggage.

In examining his suitcase, the officers found the nine shingleback skinks in two plastic containers in very cramped conditions.

The court was told that the lizards were collected from City Beach last weekend with the intention of exporting them to sell in Japan.

Department of Environment and Conservation (DEC) senior wildlife investigator Rick Dawson said that the animals can fetch a high price on the international black market.

“Shinglebacks – often called bobtails or pine cone lizards in Japan – are native to Australia and are protected in Western Australia under the Wildlife Conservation Act,” Dawson said. “They can be sold for as much as $6,000 each in Japan.”

Customs and Border Protection National Manager Investigations Kingsley Woodford-Smith said: “This arrest should serve as a warning to anyone considering breaking Australia’s tough environmental protection laws.”

The man, identified as Takashi Handa, was remanded in custody to appear before court next month.

© Japan Today

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Those lizards are cute! I want one too. How foolish of him to put all those lizards in his baggage? Doesn't he know that you need to be scanned when you check in/out from any major airport?

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

There used to be (or maybe still is) an exotic pet shop in Higashi Nakano near Shinjuku. I went in there for curiousity and was shocked to see how many native Australian reptiles, mammals, insects and spiders were in there for sale at ridiculous prices. Clearly, most of them had been smuggled out of Australia illegally.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

They taste good

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

3 lizards? Was 1 in his trousers? (Sorry!)

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Ah, 'twas 9, not 3 :-)

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I can hear the question now: "Is that a lizard in your pocket?"

2 ( +2 / -0 )

oh well sad harsh reality. the guy's doing it for a living but sadly he was caught and fined. tsk

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

oh well sad harsh reality. the guy's doing it for a living but sadly he was caught and fined. tsk

Like there are no "legal" ways for him to do it? It's the same as smuggling drugs.

There is a serious problem down here in Okinawa particularly on the main island and in Ishigaki where people intentionally and otherwise have released non-native species into the environment and those animals are reeking havoc all over the place. It's a serious problem and I for one am glad that he got caught.

The dude was looking for a quick buck, nothing more, nothing less, without considering the consequences of his actions. A couple of years in jail should hopefully cure him of the desire.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

They should throw the book at this guy. It's just another example of Japanese thinking the natural world is a treasure box there for their exploitation, and to make a quick buck. No consideration for the welfare of the animals, or the law. A few years in jail and a 50k fine will do him a world of good.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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