TOKYO (TR) – A snake shop owner in Taito Ward was arrested for breeding poisonous snakes without a license, police said on Friday.
Tokyo Metropolitan Police arrested Takayuki Asami, 50, president of shop Snake Zen, for breeding 24 venomous pit vipers known as Ovophis okinavensis last year, reports Nippon News Network (Mar. 3).
Police also arrested a 60-year-old male, who sold the snakes to Asami, and Nobutaka Ikeda, 46, who requested processed products of snakes to be displayed.
Asami is denying the charges, while Ikeda and the other suspect have admitted to the allegations, police said.
Last year, officers searched the home of Ikeda, located in Saitama City, Saitama Prefecture and found him to be breeding five Japanese pit vipers there without a license. Ikeda processed and sold the vipers he caught to make a living, police said.
Ovophis okinavensis, or Okinawa pit vipers, can be found in the Ryukyu Islands.
Used in nutritional performance-enhancing supplements, a bite from an Okinawa pit viper can sometimes cause a victim to go into shock and die, according to NHK (Mar. 3).