Malaysia: Over 1,400 tortoises seized in last quarter

PATRICK LEE The Star 17 Dec 15;

PETALING JAYA: More than 1,400 smuggled tortoises bound for Malaysia have been seized worldwide from July to Sep­tember this year.

A report by Paris-based wildlife group Robin Des Bois compiled reports showing that most of these seizures were in India.

Yet these paled to the raid by Madagascar authorities in Sep­tember, where 771 radiated tortoises headed for Malaysia were found.

It also showed that 125 sea turtles bound for Malaysia were seized.

In Malaysia, the report said that 2,600 turtle eggs were seized in Sandakan that might have come from the Philippines.

It was also mentioned that the organisation bought an Asiatic softshell turtle for RM700 from a market there to save it.

The turtle had reportedly been set free in the Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary.

The report comes a week after US government agents arrested two Malaysians for smuggling wildlife items there for about a decade.

A US Department of Justice statement identified them as a male surnamed Ling, 35, and another male, Yeo, 33.

According to a criminal complaint on the case, Ling and Yeo started an online store called Borneo Artifact for this.

The complaint said federal agents bought orangutan skulls and other animal parts from the duo before arresting them.

Some of the packages were with invoices stating items inside as “crafts for decoration”.

The two men face a possible maximum of 20 years in jail and a US$250,000 (RM1mil) fine.

A check on the Borneo Artifact website showed that the items for sale there were listed as antiques.

However, it did have Ling’s and Yeo’s contact details and an e-mail address that was specified in the complaint.

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