Japanese pet shop owner arrested for smuggling fowl and fruit from Thailand

Photo courtesy of Bangkok Post

A Japanese pet shop owner has been apprehended by local authorities in Tokyo for his alleged involvement in smuggling birds and mangosteen fruits into Japan from Thailand.

The Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) disclosed that the shop owner, Masayuki Sekiguchi, stands accused of violating both the infectious diseases control law and the plant quarantine law. His arrest on Wednesday left many bewildered by the accusations levelled against the seemingly harmless pet enthusiast.

The 69 year old shop owner reportedly confessed to his actions, stating that he wanted to breed the birds as they were pretty and adorable, and brought the mangosteens as gifts because they taste good, according to police statements. However, his intentions were clouded by the illegality of his actions, as both the birds and the fruits were prohibited imports under Japanese law.

The smuggling operation allegedly involved Sekiguchi transporting seven birds and 33 mangosteens concealed within a suitcase and tote bag during a flight from Thailand to Tokyo’s Haneda Airport last August. Among the birds were specimens of four different species, including the Pacific parrotlet, which requires explicit permission from the Japanese government for importation due to their potential role as carriers of avian influenza.

Furthermore, the importation of mangosteens from Thailand is strictly regulated, with only those produced at designated farms and meeting government quality standards being permissible. The unauthorised fruits are barred due to the risk of harbouring pests, reported Bangkok Post.

Customs officials uncovered the illicit cargo when they became suspicious of the weight of a cardboard box labelled as containing alcohol. Sekiguchi reportedly told customs that the birds could be thrown away if they were not allowed, underscoring the cavalier attitude towards his unlawful activities, as relayed by police sources.

In related news, CISF personnel thwarted a smuggling attempt at Kempegowda International Airport, Karnataka, India, as a passenger who landed from Bangkok on an AirAsia flight tried to conceal a live cobra inside a bottle.

Crime NewsThailand News

Puntid Tantivangphaisal

Originally from Hong Kong, Puntid moved to Bangkok in 2020 to pursue further studies in translation. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Comparative Literature from the University of Hong Kong. Puntid spent 8 years living in Manchester, UK. Before joining The Thaiger, Puntid has been a freelance translator for 2 years. In her free time, she enjoys swimming and listening to music, as well as writing short fiction and poetry.

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