Four nabbed over bid to smuggle baby orangutans

28 Jul 2015 / 00:25 H.

PETALING JAYA: The Wildlife and National Parks Department has nabbed four people including two Malaysians involved in the smuggling of two baby orangutans.
The department is now investigating the identity of the buyer who purchased the animals at RM20,000 each last Friday.
Enforcement division director Abdul Kadir Abu Hashim said the two Malaysians aged 35 and 54 were believed to have advertised the apes on social media platforms including Facebook.
The men were arrested in Bandar Bukit Tinggi, Klang along with two Indonesian men aged 29, who had smuggled the apes from Medan, Indonesia, to be sold as pets here.
Following intelligence information gathered, Kadir said a special operation team, code named Ops Taring III, went to a hotel in Bandar Bukit Tinggi about 8.30pm.
"The team arrested the four men at the hotel's parking lot. Upon checking, the two baby orangutans, aged less than a year were found in a duffel bag," he said.
A Perodua Alza used to transport the animals was also seized in the raid.
According to Kadir, the condition of the orangutans named "Bobby" and "Citra", were healthy and there were no signs of abuse, but the animals were stressed when recovered, after being cooped up for hours in the duffel bag.
He said Bobby and Citra would be placed under the custody of the rescue centre in Perak pending DNA test results.
"Upon DNA test confirmation and if they are from Medan, Indonesia, we will be sent back to where they belong," he said, adding that the smugglers had entered the country by sea.
Checks on the 35-year-old Malaysian's Facebook account revealed the suspect had been active in selling wildlife for the past two years.
"The postings published on his account include his attempts to sell snakes, turtles, and bears," Kadir said.
The case is being investigated under Section 68 of the Wildlife Conservation Act 2010 for hunting or keeping a totally protected wildlife species without special permit, Section 71 of the same Act for Importing protected wildlife without special permit and Section 86 for cruelty to wildlife.
The suspects are expected to be charged today.
As a move to curb international smuggling syndicates, Kadir said the department was working closely with Interpol.
Kadir said those who have information on the smuggling of wildlife could notify the department's careline at 1300-80-1010 or 1800-88-5151.

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