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Hong Kong man charged for smuggling turtles through Torrance mailing facility

By Matthew Rodriguez

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    TORRANCE, California (KCAL) — The US Department of Justice charged a Chinese man for allegedly trafficking turtles to his home in Hong Kong.

Sai Keung Tin, who also goes by “SK Tin,” “Ricky Tin” and “Ji Yearlong,” was arrested on Feb. 25 at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York. While initially appearing in a Brooklyn court, he’s expected to be transferred to an Los Angeles court in a few weeks.

Prosecutors charged the 53-year-old with four counts of exporting merchandise contrary to law, each carrying a sentence of 10 years in federal prison.

Tin is accused of helping the operation that smuggled 40 eastern box turtles to his home under the name “Ji Yearlong.” The Department of Justice said they found the turtles stuffed into a four packages sitting in an international mail facility in Torrance.

Each box contained eight to 12 turtles, all stuffed into socks. These protected animals are sometimes found in the Midwest.

Investigators believe Tin is connected to Kang Juntao, a convicted international turtle smuggler.

The DOJ believes Kang has helped smuggle 1,500 turtles worth more than $2.25 million. Kang was sentenced to 38 months in federal prison after he pled guilty to a money laundering charge.

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