Officials say patrols will be increased in trains, restaurants and highways to prevent future snake smuggling.
Passengers on a Vietnamese train traveling between Ho Chin Minh City and Hanoi panicked when a conductor discovered four sacks filled with an unknown number of highly venomous king cobras wriggling beneath a seat.
The snakes’ mouths had been stitched shut for transport. Snake meat is considered a delicacy in Vietnam, often served in restaurants, but cobras are protected by law.
The reptiles on rails were eventually released un-gagged into the wild, but officials said the smugglers apparently escaped during the panic.