DHAKA: Three employees of Malaysia Airlines (MAS) have been arrested for smuggling 30 tortoises which were seized at the Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport here on Friday night, Bangla daily Prothom Alo reported.
They were allegedly identified as deputy station manager Samiur Rahman, 35, passenger service specialist Jewel Ahmed, 29, and baggage handler Mizanur Rahman, 30.
All three were fined Tk 1 lakh (RM5,150) each by a mobile court at the airport, while two of them - Jewel and Mizanur - were also sentenced to one year imprisonment, according to Prothom Alo.
It quoted Armed Police Battalion (APBn) senior deputy superintendent Alamgir as saying that the consignment of tortoises was seized at Departure Belt No. 4 at the airport around 6pm local time, inside three trolley bags with MAS tags.
The report said that three passengers en route to Kuala Lumpur were found not to be involved with the smuggling after interrogation and checking of video footages.
Further investigation found that the MAS staff were involved in the smuggling along with Civil Aviation scan operator Hasan Parvez who managed to escape, the law enforcement official added.
Civil Aviation authorities have been instructed to take action against him.
The tortoises were handed over to Forest Department Wildlife Crime Control Unit (WCCU) Inspector Ashim Mallick, who said they were later released at the Bangabandhu Safari Park in Gazipur, and were worth around Tk 10.5 lakh (RM1.05mil). - The Daily Star/Asia News Network.