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Sun 07 Nov 2004

40,000 python and monitor lizard skins seized from an Indonesian barge

Category : trade

See the joint press release by Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority (Ministry of National Development) & Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (Ministry of Home Affairs), 02 Nov 2004.[pdf]

Excerpts - On 31 October 2004, Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) officers from the Anti-Smuggling Team at Coastal Command conducted a routine check on a barge towed by tugboat, from Jambi, Sumatra, loaded with 544 crates declared as containing plywood products.

A search revealed 31 bales of illegal reticulated python (Python reticulatus) and monitor lizard (Varanus salvator) skins hidden amongst the plywood in five of the crates.

These approximately 40,000 pieces of air-dried python and monitor lizard skins had no permits for export and the contraband, estimated at $800,000, was seized. The case was referred to the the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) and the captain was charged in court on 2nd November 2004 and fined $5,000 and sentenced to jail for three months for the illegal import of CITES species.

Since February 2004, ICA has referred four major cases involving illegal shipments of CITES species to AVA for investigations. The 4 prosecution cases involved the seizures of a total of 56 metric tonnes of red sandalwood (Pterocarpus santalinus) and 6,555 turtle eggs of the marine turtles of the species, Green turtle (Chelonia mydas) and Hawksbill turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata).

In the three cases involving red sandalwood, the offenders were prosecuted and each fined $2,000. The red sandalwood was repatriated to India, country of origin for the wood.

The smuggler of the turtle eggs was fined $5,000 and jailed for 5 months.

So far, a total of 78 illegal wildlife enforcement cases involving smuggling and possession of illegal wildlife (and their parts or products) such as marine turtle eggs, corals, giant clams, seahorses, Asian arowanas, snakes, tarantulas and sandalwood were investigated by AVA this year. Of these, 7 cases were prosecuted, 58 compounded and the remaining 13 were given warnings.

Posted at 7:37AM UTC by N. Sivasothi | permalink | email | Raffles Museum news