Indonesia: Police Arrest Six, Seize Protected Wildlife, in Trafficking Bust

Bayu Marhaenjati Jakarta Globe 18 Nov 15;

Jakarta. Police in Jakarta have arrested six people, including a Libyan national and an airport quarantine officer, for the illegal trade in wildlife.

Officers also seized several live animals from the suspects, including a clouded leopard, a sun bear, four birds of paradise, and a siamang, a species of gibbon. All the animals are protected under Indonesian law from being traded.

Sr. Comr. Mujiyono, the Jakarta Police’s director of special crimes, said on Wednesday that the arrests and seizures took place over a period of 11 days, with the police working with wildlife conservation groups to uncover the trafficking network.

He said the animals were destined for the exotic pet trade in the Middle East, with the Libyan man acting as the buyer for clients in Dubai and Kuwait.

The other suspects, none of whom were named, are all Indonesians and served various roles in the trafficking network, including one suspect who worked as a quarantine officer at Soekarno-Hatta International Airport, whose job it was to ensure that the animals could be smuggled out of the country undetected.

Mujiyono said the syndicate was known to have smuggled several animals abroad, including a sun bear to Dubai and two orangutans to Kuwait.

“Their operation was quite sophisticated. They used social media [to advertise the animals], so their reach was quite wide. It was a cross-border operation,” he said.

The suspects face wildlife trafficking charges under the 1990 Natural Resources Conservation Law, which carry a minimum prison sentence of five years.

The seized animals, meanwhile, are being cared for at Jakarta’s Ragunan Zoo.

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