Cus­toms seizes 330 tor­toises at KLIA

New Straits Times - - News -

SEPANG: The Cus­toms Depart­ment has foiled an at­tempt to smug­gle in 330 ex­otic tor­toises worth RM1.2 mil­lion at the Kuala Lumpur In­ter­na­tional Air­port here on Sun­day.

The live tor­toises were flown in on an Eti­had Air­ways jet­liner from An­tana­narivo Air­port in Mada­gas­car.

Cus­toms Deputy Di­rec­tor of En­force­ment Ab­dull Wahid Su­long yes­ter­day said there were five Ploughshare and 325 In­dian Star tor­toises.

“We re­ceived a tip-off yes­ter­day (Sun­day) and checked the cargo from the air­craft.”

Wahid said the tor­toises were packed into five boxes which were la­belled as “stones” in the doc­u­men­ta­tion and bore a fake ad­dress in Se­lan­gor.

He said this was the first case in­volv­ing live tor­toises be­ing smug­gled into Malaysia via air freight.

“The tor­toises are for the lo­cal mar­ket.

Usu­ally kept as pets, the Ploughshare tor­toise can fetch a price of up to US$4,000 (RM17,300) in the lo­cal mar­ket. The In­dian Star tor­toise can be sold for US$1,000 each.

He said no ar­rests had been made and the case was un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

The depart­ment of­fers a cash re­ward for those with in­for­ma­tion on the case and they can call its hot­line at 1-800-88-8855.

BER­NAMA PIC

One of the five Ploughshare tor­toises that were con­fis­cated by the Cus­toms Depart­ment in Sepang yes­ter­day.

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