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Lizard off the menu as HK customs seizes rare reptiles bound for dinner plates

Lizard off the menu as HK customs seizes rare reptiles bound for dinner plates

HONG KONG: A shipment of lizards bound for dining tables on the mainland was seized in a joint anti-smuggling operation by police and customs in Tuen Mun.

The 288 live reptiles, up to 1.5 metres long, were common water monitors, a protected species, and were believed to have been brought in from an Asian country, the Customs and Excise Department said.

“We are still investigating whether they were illegally imported into Hong Kong,” said Raymond Chan Wan-hung, the custom’s marine investigation division head.

The lizards, which fetch about HK$1,000 each on the mainland, were found in 48 wooden boxes punctured with air holes.

“Five to six monitors were found crammed in one box. They were between one metre and 1.5 metres long and weighed about 4kg each,” said Chan.