Costly Japanese koi targeted by Belgian thieves

DENDERMONDE, Belgium (AFP) – Police in Belgium admit they are clueless as they hunt thieves targeting prized Japanese koi – ornamental fish that sell for thousands of euros yet are practically uninsurable.

Champion Flemish growers with long and painful experience as victims fear ever-more costly security to protect these creatures that, left in peace, can live to 60 and eat their way to the size of a small pig.

‘It’s the financial crisis,’ Ms Veerle Jakobs of Nippon Koi Garden, a Japanese-themed estate near Antwerp holding up to 6,000 fish in high season, told AFP from her site near one of Europe’s biggest ports.

Traders have reported a sudden series of koi robberies in Flanders in recent weeks, and two separate police districts are collaborating on live investigations.

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