Customs seize RM78 million worth of pangolin scales

Officers show the sacks of confiscated pangolin scales.

PETALING JAYA: The Customs Department has crushed a syndicate smuggling pangolin scales and confiscated RM78 million worth of scales in its largest seizure yet this year.

The scales, weighing 6,160kg, were seized yesterday from a 20-feet container in Port Klang.

They were hidden in gunny sacks filled with cashew nuts, which the department said was the smugglers’ method of sneaking them past customs.

“The importer and the customs agent involved in attempting to smuggle the scales are being probed,” the department said in a statement.

The case is being investigated under Section 135 (1)(a) of the Customs Act 1967, which criminalises the import or export of prohibited goods.

Pangolin scales are banned from import under the International Trade in Endangered Species Act 2008 (Act 686).

Also known as scaly anteaters, pangolins are sought after for their scales which are believed to hold medicinal properties useful for treating a range of conditions from acne to liver disease and cancer.

Their flesh is also considered a delicacy.