Pangolin scales worth RM3.8m seized
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.
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.