updated 7/23/2007 6:54:43 AM ET 2007-07-23T10:54:43

Chinese police tracking a suspicious vessel on a border river in southwest China got a shock when they found 270 crocodiles, a state news agency reported Monday.

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Xinhua News Agency said the seizure was the largest this year in Guangxi region, where 25 illegally captured crocodiles were discovered in the first six months.

Border police noticed the boat trying to land on the Chinese side of the Beilun River, which marks the border with Vietnam, early on Sunday.

Xinhua said four people carried bags off the boat, but jumped into the river and swam away when they saw the police.

It said police found that the bags and other bags on the boat contained 270 crocodiles, which are on China’s wildlife protection list. They will be sent to zoos.

Xinhua quoted the border police as saying the crocodiles eventually were destined for underground leather factories to be made into shoes and bags.

© 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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