KOTA KINABALU: Marine police found 71 turtles when they intercepted a China-registered trawler in the waters off Pulau Mantani Kecil, about 90km northwest of here.
Only six of the Greenback and Hawksbill turtles were still alive while the others were preserved.
Fifteen crewmen, including its 32-year-old skipper, were arrested after a half-hour high-speed boat chase at around noon yesterday, state Marine Police Operations Officer Deputy Supt Robert Salisip told reporters here.
The suspects from Hainan province would be handed over to the Fisheries Department for further investigations.
They are also facing further action under the Sabah Wildlife Conservation Enactment for poaching the turtles which are protected species.
“Our immediate task is to send the turtles either to the Wildlife Department or the Marine Research Centre at Universiti Malaysia Sabah,” DSP Salisip said, adding that this was the second time marine police intercepted Chinese fishermen catching turtles in Malaysian waters.
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