PETALING JAYA: Malaysia appears to be a transit point for the illegal trade of pangolins, just as it is in the trafficking of ivory, said a wildlife group.
Traffic South-East Asia senior programme manager Kanitha Krishnasamy said pangolins and its scales smuggled from Africa were transiting through South-East Asia on to other destinations in Asia, or end up in selected markets, especially those in the Mekong region.
She said pangolin scales and ivory were being smuggled together, and this came to light following seizures of such contraband in South-East Asia.
“Malaysia appears to play the same role it does in the global illicit ivory trade, as a transit point,” she said in a statement on the pangolin trade yesterday.
Kanitha said records of African pangolins in trade had increased since 2000, adding that this was especially apparent in the past few years with a number of Asian countries seizing both the animals and scales shipped from Africa.
Malaysia, she said, had previously been implicated in this trade with authorities in Cameroon seizing 670kg of pangolin scales bound for here in December.
In June 2014, Hong Kong authorities seized three tonnes of pangolin scales that arrived from Uganda via Kenya and Malaysia.
“Clearly, smugglers see Malaysia as a suitable country to route their illegal shipments through.
“This is bad for the country but it also presents an opportunity for law enforcement to step up their game and tackle both the illegal ivory and pangolin trades,” said Kanitha.