'Birthday package' of viper, toads seized in Malaysia

Kuala Lumpur, Sep 20: Malaysian officials seized a "birthday present" containing a viper, 12 toads and various insects from a post office in Perak province, a media reported said on Saturday.

The Perak Wildlife and National Parks Department (Perhilitan) said that the gift-wrapped package with words "Happy Birthday" had three separate transparent plastic containers to keep the animals and bugs, The Malaysian Star reported.

"The Malaysian Quarantine Inspection Services Department uncovered the animals with a scanner during a routine check at the post office Friday," an official said.

The official said that the package, which had been shipped from Taiwan, arrived at the post office on Thursday night.

Two of the transparent containers for the reptile and amphibians had holes poked in them to allow air in.

The third contained insects which are believed to be used as food for the animals.

"The birthday box is a new method used by smugglers to confuse officials," the official said.

Anyone found guilty of importing or exporting such animals can be fined a maximum of RM.100,000 ($30,921) for each animal.

They could also face a maximum jail term of seven years, the official added.


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