30 turtles seized at Shahjalal airport

3 held for their alleged involvement

The Armed Police Battalion (APBn) on Friday night seized 30 Indian pond turtles at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport and held three employees of an airline over their alleged involvement in trying to smuggle the turtles out of the country.

The trio put the turtles in three bags and booked those under the names of three passengers of the airline, according to the APBn.

They are Samiur Rahman, 35, Jewel Ahmed, 29, and Mizanur Rahman, 30.

A magistrate court at the airport fined them Tk 1 lakh each and sentenced Jewel and Mizanur to one year's imprisonment.

The turtles were spotted by an APBn member who first noticed something moving inside a black bag on the conveyor belt, said Alamgir Hossain, senior assistant police superintendent of APBn.

After checking other luggage on the belt, they found two more bags containing turtles.

As the bags had tags of an airline, APBn contacted the airline concerned and got details of three passengers whom the bags belonged to.

However, after speaking to the passengers and watching CCTV footage, law enforcers found that the bags actually belonged to the airline's three personnel who booked those under the names of the three passengers.

The turtles were handed over to wildlife inspector Asim Mallik yesterday morning.

Asim said the turtles were released at Bangabandhu Safari Park in Gazipur.