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Bid to smuggle pangolin scales worth RM100m foiled

 | August 12, 2017

The scales were found in two containers which were scheduled to be shipped out to China.


KOTA KINABALU: The Sabah Customs Department thwarted an attempt to smuggle 8,000kg of pangolin scales worth about RM100 million to China at the Sepanggar Port near here last month.

Its director, Janathan Kandok, said the scales were found in two containers which were scheduled to be shipped out about 9.20am on July 29.

“Following intelligence, we inspected the two China-bound containers which were declared to be carrying animal shells as its cargo.

“However, upon further inspection, we found 226 gunny sacks containing about 8,000 pangolin scales in the containers,” he told reporters here today.

Following the seizure, Janathan said the department detained a 43-year-old company owner to facilitate investigations.

He said the department did not rule out the pangolin scales were brought into Sabah via illegal trade routes.

“We have estimated the scales were sourced from 16,000 pangolins. Given the huge numbers and the size of Sabah’s forests, we could not ascertain whether they (scales) were obtained in the state as it was impossible to have so many pangolins (here),” added Janathan.

According to him, pangolin scales were included in the import ban under the International Trade in Endangered Species Act 2008 (Act 686), except with a permit.

The case is being investigated under Section 135(1)(a) of the Customs Act 1967.


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