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South Taiwan woman faces up to NT$1 million fine for taking sea turtle home

Although nephew returned turtle to sea that same night, she faces fine for violating Wildlife Protection Act

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Green sea turtle. 

Green sea turtle.  (Wikimedia Commons photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A woman who has an intellectual disability faces a fine of between NT$200,000 (US$6,374) to NT$1 million for taking a protected sea turtle from a south Taiwan beach to her home.

While collecting seashells near Hongchaikeng Fishing Harbor in Pingtung County's Hengchun Township on April 3, the woman surnamed Tsai (蔡) allegedly picked up a protected green sea turtle and brought it home, reported UDN. A tourist surnamed Wang (王), who was diving at the time, spotted the incident and reported it to the Coast Guard Administration.

The Pingtung District Prosecutor's Office concluded an investigation into the incident and has decided to indict Tsai on charges of hunting and capturing a protected wild animal. Considering the fact that the individual has intellectual disabilities, prosecutors have requested the court to take this factor into account and make an appropriate judgment.

Prosecutors said that at about 2:40 p.m. on April 3, Tsai found a protected green sea turtle and picked it up to take it home. Wang captured video footage on a cell phone and presented the footage as evidence to Coast Guard officers.

After conducting an investigation, Coast Guard officers found that the sea turtle was taken by a nephew of Tsai's back to the Hongchaikeng Fishing Harbor and released back into the water that same night.

A few days ago, the investigation of the case was concluded, and Tsai was indicted for breaching Article 41 of the Wildlife Protection Act (野生動物保育法), which will incur a fine of between NT$200,000 and NT$1 million.