19 lizards found in passenger’s luggage at Melbourne Airport

April 24, 2019

A Japanese national, 27, has been arrested by Australian Border Force (ABF) officers yesterday at Melbourne International Airport. The passenger was arrested while attempting to smuggle 19 native lizards out of Australia in her luggage bag.

The woman’s suitcase of examined after getting information from Hongkong as she was departing for Japan. After x-ray examination, the officers found 17 Shingle Back lizards and two Blue Tongue Lizards in her suitcase.

She was arrested and charged under section 303DD (1) of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999. She will appear in the Melbourne Magistrate’s Court today.

The maximum penalty for these offences is 10 years imprisonment or a fine of $210,000.

Kate Gavens, DELWP Chief Conservation Regulator, stated that the seized reptiles had ticks attached to them, which could indicate that animals were wild. “They will be checked by a Vet and donated to schools and other not-for-profit organisations if they can’t be returned to the wild after the finalisation of the legal processes,” Ms Gavens said.