KLIA Customs seize 337kg of pangolin scales

SEPANG: The Kuala Lumpur International Airport's (KLIA) Customs Department recently seized a whopping 337kg of Pangolin scales worth more than RM4 million.

Its director, Abdul Wahabi Abdullah, said the discovery was made on Nov 16 and 17 at the KLIA Mail and Courier Center.

"The 337kg haul was seized at the KLIA Mail and Courier Center, where it was kept in 13 boxes which were declared as children's clothing. The first seizure on Nov 16 involves two boxes from Sabah and three from Sarawak while the seizure on the following day involves two boxes from Sabah and six from Sarawak.

"The consignment was flown in from Sabah and Sarawak and was supposed to be exported to Hong Kong," he told reporters during press conference at KLIA Customs Cargo Complex, today.

Abdul Wahabi revealed that the seizure could be linked to the department's recent success in Sabah, when RM100 million worth of pangolin scales were seized.

"We will have to work with the Wildlife and National Parks Department (Perhilitan) to find the the culprits behind the smuggling attempt. However, we believe the latest discovery could be linked with the seizure of 8,000kg of pangolin scales in Sepanggar Bay on July 29," he added.

The July 29 discovery was the biggest seizure of pangolin scales in Sabah, and possibly the country, following the seizure of 700kg last May.

The latest haul was linked to several local individuals, but the names and addresses given are believed to be fake.

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

Those convicted can be fined between 10 and 20 times the value of the smuggled goods or jailed a maximum three years, or both.

Abdul Wahabi noted that the pangolin scales are under an import ban under the International Trade in Endangered Species Act 2008 (Act 686).

Pangolins are the world's most poached animal as its meat and scales are perceived to have medicinal benefits.