Chinese customs officials seized 1,200 racing pigeons in a dispute over import duties.
The pigeons had been bought at an auction in Belgium but have been in official custody since July.
Officials impounded the birds because each pigeon was reportedly declared as costing 83 pounds, when the birds were actually sold for up to 260,000 pounds each.
Chinese import duties are levied at 10% of the value of goods and, on top of that, there is a further value-added-tax of 13%, meaning that Chinese officials were owed taxes of up to 62,690 pounds for each bird.
Last Thursday 400 birds were released after a “symbolic sum” was paid, including Bolt—the world’s most expensive racer, who had been sold to a Chinese businessman.
Bolt was named after the Olympic gold-winning Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt and was bred by Belgian pigeon fancier Leo Heremans.
The Belgian embassy is said to have stepped in to help resolve the dispute.
By: Maesie Bertumen