53 King Cobras in Car Discovered in Vietnam

April 22, 2013 Updated: April 22, 2013

53 king cobras in car:  Police in Vietnam discovered a car containing 53 king cobras before arresting the driver.

HANOI, Vietnam—Vietnamese police say they have seized 53 king cobras from a car in Hanoi and arrested the driver.

The live cobras were taken to a wildlife rescue center near the capital before they will be released back into the wild, reported state-run news outlets.

The car was stopped for violating traffic laws in Hanoi. Police said they found the snakes in green sacks in the car driven by a man named Nguyen Van Hai, who told authorities that he was transporting the venomous reptiles to the northern province of Vinh Phuc, reported Thanh Nien News.

The 30-year-old said that he was given around $47 to deliver the snakes.

Authorities said he was driving the vehicle with another man, who fled the scene when police were looking over Hai’s paperwork.

King cobras are the world’s longest venomous snake, and grow up to 5.5 meters (18) feet.

The meat of the king cobras is considered a delicacy by some in Vietnam, where hunting and trading the snakes is banned. The snakes are also sometimes preserved in traditional medicines.

The snakes were seized Friday.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.