Pan­golin scales worth RM3.8m seized

New Straits Times - - News -

SEPANG: Kuala Lumpur In­ter­na­tional Air­port (KLIA) Cus­toms Depart­ment has seized 300.9kg of smug­gled pan­golin scales worth RM3.86 mil­lion from the Demo­cratic Repub­lic of Congo.

Dis­play­ing the seized items at KLIA’s Kom­pleks Kas­tam Kargo, Cus­toms as­sis­tant direc­tor-gen­eral (en­force­ment) Datuk Mohd Pudzi Man said: “We con­fis­cated the smug­gled items at our free trade zone air cargo ware­house at 8.30pm on July 30.”

The scales were smug­gled in seven bags and la­belled as “fish maw”. They were flown in via Ethiopian Air­lines from DR Congo, and KLIA is be­lieved to be the fi­nal des­ti­na­tion.

Pudzi said his team had yet to as­cer­tain whether the smug­gled scales were for the do­mes­tic mar­ket or over­seas.

Pan­golin scales are be­lieved to be a tra­di­tional remedy for malaria and cancer and are in high de­mand in China and Viet­nam. They can fetch between RM1,000 and RM1,500 per kg in the lo­cal mar­ket.

Im­port­ing pan­golin scales re­quire a special per­mit from the Wildlife Depart­ment.

Un­der Sec­tion 135 (1) (a) of the Cus­toms Act 1967, those found guilty of il­le­gally im­port­ing the scales into the coun­try can be fined a max­i­mum of 20 times the value of the smug­gled items or face a three-year jail term, or both.

“This is our fifth case in­volv­ing smug­gled pan­golin scales this year. They used a fake ad­dress in the FTZ in the air cargo doc­u­ments,” Pudzi said.

In an­other case, KLIA Cus­toms seized 75.74kg of ivory worth RM275,000.

They were smug­gled in via Eti­had Air­ways from Lagos in Nigeria, and tran­sited in Abu Dhabi be­fore land­ing in KLIA.

Pudzi said KLIA seemed to be a favourite tran­sit hub for in­ter­na­tional smug­gling rings.

He said his depart­ment would work with stake­hold­ers to tighten KLIA Cus­toms’ stan­dard op­er­at­ing pro­ce­dures.

BER­NAMA PIC

Cus­toms as­sis­tant direc­tor-gen­eral (en­force­ment) Datuk Mohd Pudzi Man (third from right) hold­ing the seized pan­golin scales at Kom­pleks Kas­tam Kargo at Kuala Lumpur In­ter­na­tional Air­port yes­ter­day.

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