Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Snake Stories: Or which airline does the world's most wanted animal smuggler use?

Boa constrictor in news
I came across this news piece today about a man being sentenced in Malaysia for trying to smuggle  95 boa constrictors from the country to Indonesia.

In itself, the news doesn’t surprise me. If there is a market of exotic, endangered animals, unscrupulous groups will come in with a supply. But I always imagined that it would require some ingenious planning to smuggle those animals – I imagined dark, foggy nights, boats on choppy waters, mysterious lights flashing on, off, on, off, followed by perilous journeys through mountains and jungles with the police on their tail.

This man, who apparently is the one of the world’s most wanted animal smugglers, was taking his 95 boa constrictors from Malaysia to Indonesia in a suitcase on an airplane. But that is not the best part. The best part is that the snakes were not found via X-rays or whatever other sophisticated radiology system the airline presumably used. No, the bag – bursting with 95 snakes and some turtles – simply broke open on the conveyor belt, spilling the loot for all to see. I guess, they had no choice but to arrest him.

If the world’s most wanted animal smuggler was exporting animals by checking them into airplanes, then it must be fairly standard practice. I mean he didn’t even worry with a sturdy suitcase – that is how nonchalant he was.

How is it that airports can catch that one shampoo bottle or one nose-hair scissors that you mistakenly left into your hand luggage, or the coins or the underwire in your bra on yourself, but not boa constrictors, turtles and baby tigers? How is it that any petty traffic law you might have broken turns up in your record, when you go about asking for visas, but others travel around the world with boa constrictors in their bags despite being world's most wanted animal smugglers?

I trolled through many, many news reports - from Malaysia Star to AFP, Time and the Sun - but as usual all of them forgot to find out the most useful bits of information for the readers.

a)    With his criminal record, how did the world's most wanted animal smuggler manage his visa and passport situation?
b)    Which airline was he flying that would allow him to check in boa constrictors?
c)    Which suitcase brand was he using?
d)    And finally, if snakes are not allowed in planes, how does Dick Cheney travel?

Did you hear about the other Thai lady who tried to take a baby tiger in her land luggage? At least she had the decency to hide the drugged baby tiger among other stuffed toys.

Did you know there was a music video about snakes in a plane? The things you tube teaches me every day.

1 comment:

zaphod beeblebrox said...

Got to the website via a RT of the movie reviewer thinggie, but am surprised this post hasnt got any comments yet - esp with the reference to Dick Cheney being a snake :)