Elephant tusks, pangolin scales worth RM80.5 million seized

T.-Subromaniam-seizedKOTA KINABALU: Sabah Customs seized three tons of elephant tusks and five tons of pangolin scales valued at about RM80.5 million, believed to be in the process of being smuggled through Sepanggar Port to another country.

Customs director-general T. Subromaniam said the 1,148 elephant tusks, worth RM9.9 million, and pangolin scales, valued at RM70.6 million, were seized during a check on two containers declared as containing groundnuts on Aug 30.

“The elephant tusks and pangolin scales are suspected to be from Nigeria and had passed through the port of a neighbouring country before entering the country,” he told reporters here today.

Also present was Sabah Customs director Hamzah Sundang.

Subromaniam said following the confiscation, a 43-year-old man had been remanded under Section 135(1)(A) of the Customs Act 1967 to facilitate investigations on suspicion of importing prohibited items.

He said investigations were also carried out under the Prevention of Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing Act, whereby the accounts of suspected individuals and companies would be frozen.

The final destination of the containers was believed to be China, but the matter was pending Customs’ investigation, he said.

He said Malaysia should not be regarded as a transit point for smuggling of prohibited goods. He lauded the department’s success in curbing this smuggling activity even though it had passed through the port of a neighbouring country.

“I want to warn syndicates not to use ports in Malaysia for smuggling, especially prohibited items,” he added.