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Taiwan police recover 15 stolen tortoises

Suspected thief sold 7 animals for NT$228,000

Police recovered 15 tortoises stolen from one owner in Tainan City. 

Police recovered 15 tortoises stolen from one owner in Tainan City.  (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Tainan City police recovered 15 stolen tortoises from a man had sold some of the reptiles at a bargain price, reports said Wednesday (Aug. 23).

Hung (洪), aged 25, was the chief suspect in the disappearance of the animals, who can weigh up to 10 kilograms each, from a private park in Xiaying District early Sunday (Aug. 20) morning. The owner put the value of the missing tortoises at more than NT$2 million (US$62,600), per CNA.

A study of surveillance camera footage learned that a man had made about 10 trips back and forth carrying boxes between the tortoise park and a vehicle in the neighborhood.

After obtaining a warrant, police observed Hung’s residence in Taichung City, where he showed up Monday (Aug. 21). They found eight tortoises, NT$200,000 in cash, and tools used in his activities, according to a police spokesperson.

An online search turned up the sale of seven tortoises by a man named Tsai (蔡). A police officer posed as a potential buyer and learned from Tsai that he had bought the animals from Hung for NT$228,000.

He said he had not known the reptiles had been stolen. Police returned the animals to their rightful owner and passed Hung and Tsai on to prosecutors for questioning.