KUNMING, Sept. 3 (Xinhua) -- Kunming Customs in southwest China's Yunnan Province have broken up two rings suspected of smuggling dried seahorses.
The customs on Tuesday said police officers seized 148.86 kg of smuggled dried seahorses and arrested seven suspects.
Based on a tip-off in early July, the customs sent a task force to a herb shop in a local wholesale market and seized 102,085 dried seahorses worth 123 million yuan (about 17 million U.S. dollars) on the spot.
An operation involving over 30 police officers busted the two smuggling gangs in Jinping and Hekou counties, Honghe Hani and Yi Autonomous Prefecture, nabbing the suspects on Aug. 25, according to the customs.
Seahorses are protected under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, which means they can only be imported or exported with legal paperwork.