Airport authorities in Wenzhou seize smuggled sea cucumber from Africa

Published on
January 12, 2018

Authorities in one of China’s key business cities have seized significant amounts illegally sourced seafood in the past month.

A recent uptick in smuggling busts suggests a surge in traffic of questionably-sourced premium seafood coming into the country in the run-up to Chinese New Year, which falls on 16 February this year.

China Entry Exit Inspection and Quarantine (CIQ) officers at Wenzhou Airport recently seized 20 dried sea cucumbers from a passenger off a flight from Hong Kong. The passenger originated in Mozambique where, he claimed, he spent CNY 4,000 (USD 616, EUR 509) on “wild, undomesticated” sea cucumber which he planned to give as presents for Chinese New Year. 

According to a statement from CIQ (which is run by the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine, or AQSIQ), a separate seizure at Wenzhou Airport found an unspecified amount of dried sea cucumber being transported by a passenger who spent CNY 10,000 (USD 1,540, EUR 1,275) on them in Morocco. 

Sea cucumber is considered a delicacy in China and is popular in the premium gifting market, especially around holidays.

Contributing Editor reporting from Beijing, China

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