These incredible images show more than 1,200 alligator hides laid out across an entire basketball court after being seized by Chinese border police.
Authorities in Honghe Hani and Yi Autonomous Prefecture, which is in China’s south-western province of Yunnan, said two suspects were in custody over the suspected smuggling activity.
Border police inspecting vehicles entering mainland China from its southern border with Vietnam said they stopped a lorry carrying a shipment of watermelon on the afternoon of 7th April.
Officers entered the cargo haul during the otherwise routine inspection after the driver and passenger appeared suspicious and hesitant when answering questions about the origins of their shipment.
The driver was unable to reveal what exactly he was hauling, and what quantity he was bringing into the country, the police reported.
Pictures shared with Asia Wire by border authorities shows uniformed officers discovering suspicious sacks hidden among the boxes of fruit.
They seized 12 bags containing what the authorities said was a total of 1,213 pieces of alligator hide, for which the lorry driver was unable to produce documentation.
The reptile skin, which came in five different colours, each measured between 4 and 5 feet long, and about 1.5 feet wide.
Images of the animal product smuggling bust shows officers laying out the alligator hide across an entire basketball court, which typically measures around 90 by 50 feet.
Honghe border police said the two suspects, who are both Chinese nationals, were in custody.
The alligator hides have been handed over to local forestry police for further investigation.
The police told Asia Wire they were still trying to determine the precise destination of the illegal shipment.
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