KARACHI: The Export Intelligence Branch (Customs) has arrested one Ali Ahmed owner of M/s Hongda Trading Company. He is the front man in the turtle organs export case.

Collector Export Javed Ghani had tasked Additional Collector Yaqub Maco to take the case to its logical end. Principal Appraiser EIB Hamid Umar arrested Ali Ahmed at Customs Court, where he had appeared for bail. A Chinese passport has also been recovered from the possession of the accused.

It is interesting to note that Ali Ahmed is a completely uneducated person and according to his statement he is the chauffer of Chinese national. It is surprisingly that a completely uneducated person was issued Customs Import ID. The addresses mentioned on NTN, STRN and Customs ID were found to be fake.

Sources expressed concerned that there was a likelihood that more of such Import IDs had been issued to ineligible persons who are used as front for various scams.

According to details, recently a consignment destined to Canada via Hong Kong was found to contain turtle organs including dry shells, plastrons and fringes of fresh water turtles of Indus river system.

An FIR was then lodged against M/s Hongda Trading Company. But when the address given on the STN was raided, it was found to be fake.

Meanwhile, Inspector Wildlife Department Saleem Jakhro has arrested two persons near Thatta namely Allah Dino and Majeed Jogi and recovered kilos of turtle meat from their possession.

EIB has expanded the circle of investigations and the persons having turtle meat are being interrogated to find whether they were the suppliers to the exporter namely M/s Hongda Trading Company.

A consignment was cleared from MCC Exports in the month of September and shipped to Canada via Hong Kong.

Sources said that a similar consignment was cleared in September 2014 under the patronage of a very senior officer, and this recent consignment was also to be shipped but the said officer was transferred and consignment of M/s Hongda was seized as there was no patronage any more.

Turtle species are protected and their poaching, catching, trapping, netting, using as part or whole or derivatives, trading, transporting and export is strictly prohibited as per provisions of Sindh Wild life Protection Ordinance 1972 and Sindh Turtle and Tortoises Protection, conservation Rules, 2014 and Export Policy Order, 2013.