The Royal Malaysian Customs dept seized wildlife parts worth RM80 million which includes an estimated 6,000 kilograms of elephant tusks
PORT KLANG â The Royal Malaysian Customs Department (JKDM) has foiled a syndicateâs attempt to smuggle wildlife parts, including elephant tusks, rhinoceros horns, pangolin scales and tiger fangs worth RM80 million hidden behind a pile of sawn timber in a container.
According to a news report by Bernama, JKDM director-general Zazuli Johan said the container was seized at West Port, Port Klang on 10 July, making it the biggest seizure involving wildlife parts.
He added that previously, JKDM scored a big success when they seized pangolin scales and elephant tusks worth RM40 million and RM2.4 million, respectively in 2012.
âThe container, believed from an African country, was supposed to dock at Pasir Gudang Port, Johor, to be transferred to another ship. But, we received information on the smuggling and intercepted the container at West Port,â he said at a press conference on Tuesday (19 July).
Physical checks on the container found elephant tusks, weighing about 6,000 kilogrammes (kg), 29 kg of rhinoceros horns, 100 kg of pangolin scales, 14 kg of wildlife horns, as well as, 300 kg of animal skulls and bones hidden behind stacked sawn timber, he added.
Zazuli said JKDM believed Malaysia is a transit before the goods are brought to other countries to be marketed.
He added that wildlife part imports are banned under the Third Schedule of the International Trade in Endangered Species Act 2008 (Act 686), except with permits issued by the Department of Wildlife and National Parks.
Zazuli, however, said no arrests were made so far, and investigations on the importer and shipping agents are ongoing.
He added that the case is being investigated under Section 135 (1)(a) of the Customs Act 1967 for trying to smuggle illegal or duty unpaid goods via Malaysian ports.
Meanwhile, Southeast Asia director at wildlife trade monitoring group Kanitha Krishnasamy hailed the âsignificant seizureâ, AFP reported.
âThis medley of threatened species in a single seizure is concerning, and it certainly verifies the suspicion that criminals continue to use Malaysian ports to move contraband wildlife,â she said.