Cruel plan by wildlife trafficker extends him five years


A wildlife trafficker will spend years in jail for jamming turtles, lizards and snakes in toys and speakers and attempting to smuggle them out of Australia.

Zheyuan Qiu, 33, was sentenced to five years in prison for fueling the illegal wildlife trade, while his accomplice Ut Lei Lei, 30, was sentenced to two years in the community.

The couple tried to post 17 packages containing 45 reptiles native to Hong Kong and Taiwan, cruelly linked with things like black stockings, then shoved inside speakers, toy cars and other household items.

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They included pebble-backed blue-tongued lizards, a black red-bellied snake, diamond-carpet pythons, and two species of turtles.

Australian Border Force officers seized several of the packages and the couple were also found to be illegally holding other endangered species and regulated native animals in their Sydney home.

The NSW District Court said the sentences reflected the seriousness of their offenses and the excessive cruelty inflicted on the animals.

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Federal Environment Minister Sussan Ley said the sentences followed a two-year investigation into criminal syndicates involved in the smuggling of native wildlife.

“The details of this case are gruesome and sadly too commonplace,” she said.

“Native Australian reptiles are in high demand overseas in what is a dangerously lucrative market supplying businesses such as overseas pet stores that exclusively sell Australian reptiles.”

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