A 30-year-old Chinese man was arrested at Bandaranaike International Airport in Colombo, Sri Lanka when he was found to be carrying about 200 live Scorpions in plastic containers in his luggage. The man admitted to having collected the animals from the wild himself, and stated that he was taking them back to China for breeding and to sell. He was eventually allowed to continue his journey, without the Scorpions, after paying a 100 000 rupee fine (about US$550).
Scorpions found in the luggage of a Chinese man detained at Colombo Airport, Sri Lamka. Colombo Gazette.
Sri Lanka has a high biodiversity level, with many endemic species (species not found anywhere else), as might be expected from a large island in a tropical location, It has in theory had legislation to protect its wildlife for decades, but a lengthy civil conflict has made this less of a priority than it might have been, and the country became a centre for wildlife crime, with criminals both targeting the island's own flora and fauna, and using the island as a rout through which to smuggle wildlife and wildlife products from elsewhere in Asia and Africa. The country has stated that it now intends to make tackling wildlife crime a priority, though with a large, and growing population, high poverty levels, and a weak national infrastructure, it remains to be seen how this will be implemented.
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