$310,000 worth of bird's nests hidden in air duct on coach headed for mainland China

$310,000 worth of bird's nests hidden in air duct on coach headed for mainland China
The haul weighed 49kg and had an estimated market value of HK$1.85 million (S$320,000).

Bird's nests worth more than HK$1.8 million (S$310,000) have been confiscated by Hong Kong customs after they were found hidden inside an air duct on a cross-border coach.

The city's Customs and Excise Department said the delicacy was seized on Monday when officers intercepted the vehicle at the Shenzhen Bay Control Point.

The department said in a statement on Tuesday that the haul weighed 49kg and had an estimated market value of HK$1.85 million.

The 52-year-old male driver of the coach was arrested. Investigations were under way.

The product was found in an air duct.Photo: Handout

Edible bird's nests are prized in Chinese culture for their supposedly high nutritional value, particularly in bird's nest soup. The nests are made by swiftlets using their own solidified saliva and are harvested for human consumption. The product is subject to controls in many countries.

In Hong Kong, importing or exporting unmanifested cargo carries a maximum penalty of seven years in jail and a HK$2 million fine.

This article was first published in South China Morning Post.

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