RM103m pangolin scale smuggling bid foiled
KOTA KINABALU: The Sabah Customs Department foiled an attempt to smuggle out over RM103 million worth of pangolin scales to China via the Sepanggar Port here last month.
The scales were discovered inside two containers, packed in 226 gunny sacks and weighing about 8,000kg, waiting to be shipped out.
State Customs director Datuk Dr Janathan Kandok said enforcement officers made the discovery on July 29.
“Those responsible in handling the items had declared them as being animal shells to deceive enforcement personnel.
“The scales were believed to be en route to China.
“They are estimated to be worth US$3,000 (RM12,886) per kilogramme on the black market,” he said at Wisma Kastam here today.
Kandok said each bag was filled between 30 and 50 kilogrammes of pangolin scales, believed to have been sourced from 16,000 pangolins.
Kandok said the department had nabbed a 43-year-old local man, the owner of a company, to facilitate investigations.
“This is the biggest success by Sabah Customs this year in thwarting an attempt to smuggle pangolin scales out of the state,” he said.
Sabah Customs director Datuk Dr Janathan Kandok (centre) showing the seized pangolin scales in Kota Kinabalu yesterday.