On Tuesday, the woman, a 44-year-old resident of Fukushima Prefecture, was found by an airline employee to be in possession of a suitcase containing 55 reptiles, including Malayan snail-eating turtles and monitor lizards, at Bangkok International Airport.
The woman, charged with violating wildlife conservation laws, was scheduled to depart on a flight for Narita International Airport.
“At the entrance of the airport I was asked by an unknown Asian [to carry the reptiles],” the suspect was quoted. “I received the suitcase and a commission of 100,000 yen. I did it like a part-time job”
At the time of her arrest, the woman was accompanied by a six-month-old boy.
“I do not know what kind of money these animals will fetch on the market in Japan,” said the arresting officer, “but I was surprised that even a woman with a child was involved in smuggling.”
Rare turtles and monitor lizards are protected under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora of 1973.