Malaysia: Wildlife smuggling syndicates busted in raid

SIMON KHOO The Star 30 Jan 16;

KUALA LUMPUR: Two animal smuggling syndicates were crippled by the Wildlife and National Parks Department (Perhilitan) which saw the arrests of six smugglers, including the mastermind and several brokers.

Two mousedeer and 468 live burung murai batu (magpies) were seized from the suspects, aged between 30 and 50, in separate raids in Selangor and Johor on Thursday night.

The mousedeer were to be sold for RM1,000 while the magpies were to be shipped to a neighbouring country.

Each magpie could fetch RM200 to thousands of ringgit, depending on the tail and its chirp.

Perhilitan enforcement division director Hasnan Yusop said that acting on a tip-off and surveillance, his officers intercepted a car near a petrol station in Kampung Jawa, Klang, at about 9pm.

“We found two mousedeer kept in a storage box on the back passenger seat of the car. Upon questioning, the two men in the car admitted they were waiting for a buyer to conclude an illegal deal,” he told The Star.

The men, who were suspected to be wildlife brokers, were detained to assist in investigations under the Wildlife Conservation Act 2010.

Hasnan said checks showed that the suspects did not have documents to keep the protected species.

He said his officers had trailed the suspects from the Shah Alam bus station before they made the arrest.

“We believe they had engaged the services of a transport company based in Kuantan before collecting the box with the mousedeer,” he said.

Both suspects face a fine of up to RM50,000 or up to two years’ jail or both, if convicted.

In Bandar Penawar, Kota Tinggi, four men, including the mastermind who specialised in smuggling and trading magpies via the sea, was detained in a major bust at about 9.30pm.

Hasnan said the syndicate had been active over the past two months, smuggling various species of exotic birds to Batam, Indonesia.

“Two of the suspects were Indonesians and we are tracking down several accomplices.

“We seized a boat with an engine and two four-wheel-drive vehicles, all worth about RM400,000,” he said, adding that the illegal activity was conducted in big scale along the Tanjung Lompat shoreline.

The suspects were loading the magpies which were kept in dozens of cages into the boat when they were caught.

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