China detains 14 for smuggling edible bird’s nests

Beijing, Sep 25 (IANS) Fourteen people were detained in China’s Guangdong province for smuggling a large amount of edible birds’ nests, a delicacy often used in preparing soup, the media reported on Friday.

Customs police at Gongbei port seized over 700 kg of edible bird’s nests produced in Indonesia, worth more than 100 million yuan (about $15 million), the Global Times reported.

The nests were purchased in Hong Kong, transported to Macao and illegally brought to China via the port since April 2014.

The suspects evaded an estimated 40 million yuan in taxes, allowing them to sell the nests at a price cheaper than legal imports.

China is the world’s largest consumer of birds’ nests, which is made of the secretion from the salivary glands of the swiftlet bird.

Chinese people believe that its consumption promotes good health, especially for the skin. The nests have been used in Chinese cooking for over 400 years.

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