Zhang Hong Yuan, Chen Caijan, Lin Guibin and Shi Jiahua

Four Chinese men face deportation from Zimbabwe after they were arrested for killing more than 40 tortoises for meat, a state daily reported Saturday, citing a statement by an animal rights group.

The Herald newspaper said Zhang Hong Yuan, Chen Caijan, Lin Guibin and Shi Jiahua were arrested in a village in Bikita in southeastern Zimbabwe on Thursday, following a raid by the Zimbabwe National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ZNSPCA), the police and parks and wildlife authorities.

“When we raided the Chinese homestead, we also recovered 13 live tortoises, meat together with skeletal remains of a further 40 tortoises,” the newspaper quoted SZSPCA chairman Ed Lance as saying.

“Officers were dispatched to Bikita in order to undertake investigations into the matter and charges of cruelty were laid against the four. The four men are now detained pending deportation.”

The animals were kept in steel drums without water or food, the Herald said.

The tortoise is listed as an endangered species under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species.

Villagers who gave statements to the police said the tortoises were dropped alive in boiling water to separate the shell and the flesh.

AFP

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