​Man Tries To Sneak Tortoises Through Airport As Pastries

A man has been stopped at customs for attempting to bring three tortoises into Germany by disguising them as pastries. Yep, you read that correctly.

Germany's PressePortal reports that a 69-year-old German man arrived by plane at Schönefeld Airport in Berlin on 2 March, having travelled from Cairo, Egypt.

Customs officers inspected the man and found a package in his bag that looked a little bit suspect. Having asked him what the box contained, the man simply said it was chocolate.

However, when officials opened up the package, they didn't find any sweet treats. Instead, they discovered three live Moroccan tortoises.

The tiny tortoises. Credit: Hauptzollamt Potsdam
The tiny tortoises. Credit: Hauptzollamt Potsdam

As the creatures are protected by the Washington Convention on the Protection of Animals, they were confiscated and placed in the care of the border veterinarian.

According to PressePortal, infringements of such species' protection regulations can result in fines of up to €50,000 (£43,000/$57,000) or imprisonment of up to five years.

A press release from Hauptzollamt Potsdam added: "With its controls, customs makes a decisive contribution to preserving the biodiversity of flora and fauna.

"Since 1973, the Washington Convention on the Protection of the Species (WA) has existed to protect wildlife and plants. In Germany it is valid since 1976.

"To date, 182 states have joined the WA. About 5,600 wild animals and 30,000 plant species are currently listed."

The tortoises had been disguised as pastries. Credit: Hauptzollamt Potsdam
The tortoises had been disguised as pastries. Credit: Hauptzollamt Potsdam

Mind you, at least he'd smuggled a tortoise or two, and not a seriously scary scorpion - which was what one plane-load of people recently found aboard their plane.

The creepy crawly was spotted - and filmed - scurrying along the overhead cabin on a Lion Air flight bound for Jakarta, much to the dismay of everyone on board.

According to The Jakarta Post, Lion Air spokesman Danang Mandala Prihantoro said on Friday that the airline was still investigating the appearance of the venomous animal, although he did add: "Based on our observation of the video, it seems like a spider."

Describing the incident, onlooker Karim Taslin said: "When the plane had landed, one passenger was taking their things out of the compartment, that's when suddenly the scorpion appeared above our seat.

"I was in row 19 with two other passengers, an elderly married couple. When we saw the scorpion above our heads we rushed out as fast as we could."

When the cabin crew came to find it, the scorpion had gone back inside the roof, and even now no one knows how long the critter had been there or how it got inside the plane.

Karim added: "I didn't have time to catch the scorpion. So it disappeared into the cabin baggage area. I pressed the emergency button. There was no response, so I shouted for help.

"But at that time the atmosphere in the cabin was crowded with passengers picking up their luggage, so the crew were also slow to arrive at row 19.

"When I think back it makes me shiver. The scorpion could have dropped on our heads and stung us."


Featured Image Credit: Hauptzollamt Potsdam

Jess Hardiman

Jess Hardiman is a journalist who graduated from Manchester University with a BA in Film Studies, English Language and Literature, and has previously worked for Time Out and The Skinny among others.

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