15 Feb 2014

Lizard smugglers sentenced in Perth

10:16 am on 15 February 2014

Two Japanese men have been sentenced in Perth for trying to smuggle 30 native lizards out of Australia.

Akio Nakamura and Yuki Okabe were stopped by Customs at Perth international airport in September last year after the lizards were found inside checked luggage.

Both Nakamura and Okabe pleaded guilty to attempting to export the lizards to Japan and subjecting them to cruelty.

The ABC reports Nakamura's suitcase contained 15 shingleback lizards and a skink and Okabe's suitcase contained 13 shingleback lizards and a dragon lizard.

Nakamura was given a suspended sentence of six months for his role in helping to courier the reptiles from Australia to Japan.

Okabe, who captured the lizards in the wild, was sentenced to 12 months in prison with a minimum of seven months.

The 30 lizards reportedly could have fetched about $A130,000 on the black market.

The District Court heard the men stood to gain about $A3000 each from delivering the reptiles and about $A70 - $A80 on top of that amount per lizard.