Five re-arrested over killing of pygmy elephant in Tawau

The bull elephant had been shot 70 times and its tusks removed.

KOTA KINABALU: Five of the six suspects arrested for the killing of a Borneo pygmy elephant in Tawau were released on police bail today but were immediately handed over to the Sabah Wildlife Department (SWD) where they were rearrested for further investigations.

Tawau deputy police chief Nor Azizulkifli Mansor said wildlife officers would seek a remand order to keep the five for further questioning into the killing of the bull elephant at Sungai Udin, Dumpas in Kalabakan on Sept 25.

The remand of the five suspects ended today.

SWD director Augustine Tuuga confirmed that they rearrested the men after their release, adding that the department would apply for a new remand order tomorrow.

He said they would be investigated under the Wildlife Conservation Enactment.

Earlier today, Sabah police chief Omar Mammah said police had completed their probe, framed under the Firearms Act, and were expected to present their investigation papers to the deputy public prosecutor’s office soon for further action.

The six suspects, aged between 48 and 68, comprise five locals and an illegal immigrant. Two of them are Felda settlers and another is a plantation guard.

Police seized five guns, including three homemade shotguns, 53 bullet shell casings, 59 live ammunition and two elephant tusks hidden in the cooperative farm at Felda Uma.

A post-mortem of the bull elephant showed that it had suffered 70 bullet wounds. Its tusks had been removed.

Meanwhile, one of the six was charged in the Sessions Court in Tawau today with not being able to produce valid travel or identity documents.

Osman Ghafar, 48, pleaded not guilty to the charge under Section 6(1) (c) of the Immigration Act before Tawau High Court deputy registrar Amir Shah Hassan, who sat as a Sessions judge.

The court set Oct 22 for case management.