KOCHI: Customs sleuths at the Cochin International Airport have arrested two Japanese nationals while attempting to transport a collection of exotic species in their baggage. The arrested have been identified as Murayi Yojka, 21, and Shibi Ottawa, 24, who reached the airport here on Saturday evening to board a Sri Lankan Airlines flight to Colombo. The animals were recovered during an inspection of their baggage by the CISF personnel before checking-in, following which they were handed over to the Customs.
“There were three small-sized snakes, including a viper, along with other creatures, including scorpion, turtle, chameleon, spider, lizards, earthworms, centipede and beetle. They were packed in plastic boxes and kept hidden inside their baggage,” officials said. During an interrogation, they told the officials that they had caught these reptiles from Athirapally forest and were taking them to Japan for study purposes. The accused persons and seized materials have been handed over to the Forest Department. They were booked under the provisions of the Indian Wildlife Act, 1972.