2 Japanese men arrested for attempting to smuggle endangered otters
Kyodo -- Jan 24
Two men have been arrested over an alleged attempt to smuggle from Thailand five otters in a carry-on bag through customs at Tokyo's Haneda Airport last October, police said Wednesday.

The Asian short-clawed otter is considered a vulnerable species by international conservation groups but is popular in Japan as a pet, and with one otter costing up to more than one million yen ($9,100), there is a flourishing illegal trade in the animal.

Four of the five smuggled otters have died, according to the police.

Kazuhito Morita, 52, and Ryoya Hamano, 24, have both admitted to attempting to illegally import the otters.

Morita ordered the attempt to import them, while Hamano carried the bag containing the otters, the police said, adding a former gangster is suspected to be the crime's ringleader.

ワシントン条約で国際取引が規制されているコツメカワウソの赤ちゃん5匹を密輸しようとしたとして、24歳の男ら2人が逮捕されました。
News sources: Kyodo, ANNnewsCH
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