Roughly 50 live scorpions were seized at Ben Gurion International Airport on Tuesday afternoon, mere hours before they were brought on a flight to the Austrian capital of Vienna.
An Austrian passenger was found to be hiding the scorpions in a plastic box in his suitcase during the security check. The scorpions were confiscated by the regional veterinarian of the Nature and Parks Authority.
The 35-year-old passenger was detained for investigation by airport police.
He claimed he bought the scorpions from an Israeli; at the end of the investigation he was allowed to continue with his flight, without the scorpions in tow.
The incident brings to mind the case of an Israeli who last November returned from a trip to Holland, and was stopped by customs inspectors at Ben Gurion Airport for trying to smuggle 40 Zebra Finches into Israel.
The traveler had walked through the “green lane” on his way into the passenger terminal, indicating that he did not have anything for the customs inspectors to check, and owed no duty on the items he was bringing into the country.
Similarly two passengers tried to smuggle 34 rare parrots in two handbags in February. The two similarly attempted to walk through the "green lane," but were stopped thanks to intelligence information from the Agriculture Ministry.
The birds were brought into Israel without a veterinarian's certificate of health, and without having passed the required import inspections.