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  The Star 21 Oct 06
5,000 monitor lizards seized and six men arrested
BY Nik Naizi Husin

The Star 21 Oct 06
Ten freshwater turtles seized and man detained
By Sharon Ling

Yahoo News 20 Oct 06
Malaysian intercepts 6,000 exotic animals bound for Hong Kong

KUALA LUMPUR (AFP) - More than 6,000 exotic animals including monitor lizards and mud turtles believed to be bound for Hong Kong have been intercepted on Malaysia's east coast, police have said.

Marine police who mounted a raid on a jetty Thursday detained six men including five Hong Kong nationals, regional commander Mohamed Salleh Mat Ghani told the state Bernama news agency.

"On arrival at the scene, the raiding party found some 30 people transferring wooden boxes from a boat to two trailers. However, all of them fled after realising the presence of the police," he said.

The Hong Kong nationals were nabbed on the boat, he said, adding that they did not have any valid travel documents and would be handed over to the Immigration Department.

Pahang state's Wildlife and National Parks director Zainuddin Abdul Shukor said the seized animals were protected species. He said the department would release them back to their natural habitat at various sanctuaries and national parks.

The marine police did not say what the animals were wanted for, but most smuggled wildlife in Asia is destined to be killed and served in restaurants, while some are highly prized as ingredients in traditional Chinese medicines.

The Star 21 Oct 06
5,000 monitor lizards seized and six men arrested
BY Nik Naizi Husin

KUANTAN: Marine police have smashed an international syndicate active in smuggling monitor lizards with one of biggest seizure in recent years. A total of 5,000 of lizards kept in 448 boxes were seized at a jetty in Batu Tiga, Jalan Gambang here on Thursday.

Eastern region marine police chief Asst Comm Mohd Salleh Mat Jani said five Chinese nationals, aged between 20 and 48, and a 43-year-old local were arrested during the raid.

ACP Mohd Salleh said acting on a tip-off, police confronted the syndicate's members while they were busy unloading the boxes from a trailer to a waiting vessel.

"Some of the workers managed to escape but we succeeded in detaining those in the vessel and a trailer driver," he said, adding that the seizure was the biggest in the state since 1996.

Also present was Pahang marine police chief Asst Supt Mohd Pajeri Ali. He said once investigations were completed, the foreign suspects would be handed over to the Immigration Department.

Meanwhile, state Wildlife Protection and National Parks director Zainuddin Abd Shukor said the lizards were from the endangered species list. He said both "biawak air" and "biawak bukit" were also protected by the law and no licences had been issued to hunt or catch these animals.

Zainuddin said each lizard cost about US$40. Its skin could be made into products such as wallets and bags while its meat was said to have medicinal value.

"We would investigate the suspects under Section 64 and Section 68 of the Wildlife Protection Act 1972," he said, adding that the offence carries a maximum fine of RM5,000 and a jail term of up to five years, or both, upon conviction.

He said the lizards would be released later in Tasik Cini, Tasik Bera, National Park and Kuala Krau forest reserve.

The Star 21 Oct 06
Ten freshwater turtles seized and man detained
By Sharon Ling

SIBU: Sarawak Forestry officers seized 10 freshwater turtles weighing a total of 60kg and detained a man at the Central Market here on Friday.

Acting on a tip off, the officers went to the market at about 11am and detained a man in his 40s who was selling the turtles.

Senior enforcement officer Sing Kwong Hua said two of the turtles had been chopped into pieces while the rest were still alive and kept in a gunny sack. He added that turtle meat was popular among locals and could fetch prices of RM22 to RM30 per kilo.

Locally known as "labi-labi", freshwater turtles are a protected species in Sarawak.

Sing said stern action would be taken against those who catch, sell, distribute or are in possession of protected wildlife. Offenders can be fined up to RM10,000 and jailed a year if convicted under the state's Wildlife Protection Ordinance.

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