Chinese national extradited to US from Malaysia on money laundering charges

WION Web Team
Washington, DC, United States of America Published: Dec 11, 2020, 11:13 AM(IST)

U.S. and Chinese flags are seen before a meeting between senior defence officials from both countries at the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, U.S., November 9, 2018 Photograph:( Reuters )

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The justice department had alleged that he used a nationwide ring of individuals who smuggled at least 1,500 protected turtles out of the country valued at USD 2.5 million.

A 24-year-old Chinese national has been extradited from Malaysia to the US to face charges for money laundering.

The justice department had alleged that he used a nationwide ring of individuals who smuggled at least 1,500 protected turtles out of the country valued at USD 2.5 million.

Kang Juntao of Hangzhou City in eastern China was charged in February 2019 with financing a number of individuals who smuggled at least 1,500 protected turtles out of the US valued at USD 2,250,000.

He was arrested on January 23 at Kuala Lumpur International Airport on a request submitted by the US authorities for his provisional arrest with a view to extradition.

According to the indictment, from June 12, 2017, through December 3, 2018, Kang allegedly purchased turtles in the US and arranged for them to be smuggled to associates in Hong Kong. He sent money through US banks, including one in New Jersey, to pay for the turtles and their illegal shipments.

The turtles would then be sold on the Asian pet trade black market for thousands of dollars each, depending on their sex, colouring, and age.

The US, Malaysia, China and approximately 181 other countries are signatories to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).

CITES is an international treaty that restricts trade in species that may be threatened with extinction.

Kang allegedly trafficked in five turtle species protected by the treaty.

The indictment further alleges that Kang sent money through PayPal to the US to purchase turtles from sellers advertising on social media or reptile trade websites.

Kang paid and instructed these intermediaries to repackage the turtles in boxes with false labels for clandestine shipment to Hong Kong.

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