YINCHUAN, Sept. 29 (Xinhua) -- Chinese police have detained 24 foreigners, mostly from India and Pakistan, on the charge of poaching falcons in a northwestern region of the country, a police officer said on Saturday.
The group of suspects, a few of whom had no passport, were detained on Sept. 17 in Hanjiaoshui Township near Zhongwei City inNingxia Hui Autonomous Region, after police had been tipped off bylocal villagers, said Zhu Yangming, head of Zhongwei's Public Security Bureau.
Police confiscated nine falcons, two motorbikes, 26 pigeons used as baits for catching the falcons and some tools which police said they were unable to identify.
Initial investigations showed that the group of suspects entered China in August but officials were unsure how and where they managed to cross the border.
Zhu said they had broken China's wildlife protection law. In China, the falcon is under state-level protection.
He said that the embassies of relevant countries where the suspects come from have been informed.
"A falcon can be sold for 300,000 to 700,000 U.S. dollars in some central Asian countries, as the bird can be used to find oil and carry drugs," said Zhu.