Snakes alive! Malaysian cops save reptiles from the pot

Wed Oct 22, 2008 1:31am EDT
 
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KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters Life!) - Malaysian police have seized 1,272 live reptiles that could have end up as exotic dishes for Hong Kong or Chinese diners, a newspaper said on Wednesday.

Southern Chinese traditionally have an appetite for protected or endangered wildlife such as snakes, crocodiles and pangolins. Some of the animals are smuggled from countries such as Malaysia.

In the latest case, Malaysian police confiscated 1,244 clouded monitors, 17 water monitors and 11 pythons worth nearly $142,000, the New Straits Times said.

"We believe the monitors and the pythons were meant for markets in China, Hong Kong and Thailand," it quoted a marine police official as saying.

He said police found the animals packed in plastic containers and wooden crates following a raid on a deserted jungle hideout in the eastern state of Pahang.

No one has been arrested over the case. The animals had been handed over the wildlife and national parks department, he said.

(Reporting by Jalil Hamid; Editing by David Fox)