‘Snakes On A Plane’: Woman Flies From Malaysia With 23 Reptiles, Gets Caught At Chennai Airport

A female passenger was detained by customs officials at Chennai airport on Friday after she was discovered travelling with 22 snakes of various species and a chameleon. The passenger, who arrived on flight AK13 from Kuala Lumpur, had the reptiles in her checked-in luggage. A video from the airport showed officials using a long rod to extract the snake, while others wriggled out of the crates on the floor.

The woman was arrested by customs upon her arrival from Kuala Lumpur. “On 28.04.23, a female pax who arrived from Kuala Lumpur by Flight No. AK13 was intercepted by Customs. On examination of her checked-in baggage, 22 Snakes of various species and a Chameleon were found & seized under the Customs Act, 1962 r/w Wildlife Protection Act, 1972,” Chennai Customs tweeted.

The Tamil Nadu forest department has increased its surveillance of exotic species smuggled into the state and then transported to other states and even foreign destinations.

The amended Wildlife (Protection) Act will take effect on April 1, 2023, and owning exotic species such as birds, animals, and rodents will be a punishable offence under it.

Several cases of smuggled exotic species have been learned at Chennai International Airport.

Earlier this year, the Customs Department of Chennai Airport recovered 45 ball pythons, three marmosets, three-star tortoises, and eight corn snakes in a similar incident, according to officials.

According to the customs official, 45 ball pythons, three marmosets, three-star tortoises, and eight corn snakes were recovered after two unattended bags discovered near the baggage claim belt of a pax arriving from Bangkok on January 11 were examined.

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According to the Tamil Nadu forest department, once exotic species are smuggled into the country, they are smuggled into other South Indian destinations at much higher prices. Some species are transported to Northern Indian states such as Delhi, Jaipur, and Lucknow, news agency IANS reported citing sources. 

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