60,000 lobster larvae smuggled on Da Nang flight from Singapore

By Nguyen Dong, Minh Nga   April 6, 2024 | 01:00 am PT
60,000 lobster larvae smuggled on Da Nang flight from Singapore
The lobster larvae seized from a passenger on a flight from Singapore to Da Nang on April 3, 2024. Photo by Da Nang customs department
Customs and other officials in Da Nang are investigating a man who tried to smuggle in 60,000 lobster larvae into the city on a flight from Singapore.

Quach Dang Hoa, head of the city Da Nang customs department, said the larvae were found in two suitcases by the man on a Vietjet flight on April 3 by suspicious officials who opened to check them.

The crustaceans were found in water-filled plastic bags with oxygen pumped in and wrapped in insulating material.

They are estimated to be worth over VND5 billion (US$200,250) on the market.

Hoa said lobsters could only be imported into Vietnam with proper permits and after health and safety inspections.

The man failed to furnish a permit or declare them to customs, he said.

"Authorities are keeping the lobsters at a facility while deciding further actions including potential criminal investigation."

This is the first such attempt to smuggle live lobsters into Da Nang by air.

The Singapore Food Agency (SFA), since Oct. 1 last year, requested that traders need to submit a health certificate issued by the country of origin of the live food animals. The health certificate should attest to the health/animal disease conditions of the re-exported live food animals.

"Live food animals refer to any bird, mammal, reptile, amphibian or fish (including any species of fish and includes crustacea, shellfish, echinoderm, mollusc), and the young and eggs thereof, that are imported into Singapore. Exporters are reminded to put in place a system to ensure that the consignments to be re-exported comply with the standards and regulations of the destination country/region," according to the SFA.

According to a Mongabay report last November, key destinations of smuggled lobster larvae are nearby Singapore, from where the larvae are often reexported to third countries like Vietnam and China, where they would be raised to maturity and sold at much higher prices.

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