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Asia Insight

COVID casts Asia's exotic pet trade in harsher light

From Thailand to Japan, health risks add to animal welfare and biodiversity concerns

SANDY ONG, Contributing writer | Singapore

SINGAPORE -- When Thai officials stopped a man trying to enter the country from neighboring Myanmar in late September, they found a surprise inside his luggage. Stuffed into eight suitcases were about 9,100 turtles and tortoises -- some worth hundreds of dollars apiece on the black market -- bound for pet merchants in Thailand.

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