GUANGZHOU, April 12 (Xinhua) -- Customs police in southern China on Thursday detained 18 suspects who allegedly smuggled edible bird's nests, which have been highly prized due to nutritional value.
Customs of the city of Shantou, in southeast China's Guangdong Province, said that around 300 kg of bird's nests have been sized in an action conducted on Thursday by customs police and public security departments in southern Chinese provinces of Guangdong, Fujian and Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region.
Eight smuggling gangs involving bird's nest purchases, transportation and delivery were busted in the action.
Customs police said buyers had purchased bird's nests in Indonesia and Malaysia since 2018, and gangs had later smuggled the nests into China through border cities of Pingxiang and Nanning, capital of Guangxi. Buyers in China had sold the smuggled nests for profiteering.
Shantou customs said that the gangs were involved in smuggling around 160 tonnes of bird's nests, with an estimated value of 2 billion yuan (298 million U.S. dollars). They are suspected of evading taxes worth 320 million yuan.