KOTA KINABALU: Body parts and meat as well as live endangered animals worth RM8.4mil were seized from a factory in Sepanggar near here on Thursday (Feb 7).
Sabah Police Chief Datuk Omar Mammah said the items comprising a total of 1,860 boxes of frozen pangolins, live pangolin, pangolin scales weighing 361kg, bear (feet) claws and flying foxes were found stored in three shipping containers.
He said the operation in Sepanggar and Tamparuli near here conducted by the police and Wildlife Department enforcement officials at 8.46pm also saw a 35-year-old suspect nabbed.
“From this man, we seized another 35 live pangolin in his car boot.
“We believe this man is part of a syndicate that has been actively involved in smuggling exotic animals for the past seven years,” he told a press conference in Tuaran near here on Saturday (Feb 9).
He said the suspect is believed to have been dealing with illegal hunters for the past seven years to get his supply.
“The man who operates the factory is believed to have got his supplies from all over Sabah, before they are sent to the factory to be processed, packed, and sold,” he said.
Omar added that the exotic animals and body parts were most likely for local sales, for Sarawak as well as overseas markets.
Sabah Wildlife Department director Augustine Tuuga, who was present during the press conference, said his department has yet to make a detailed record of the total population of pangolin in Sabah.
He said these animals are a totally protected species and are usually hunted by poachers for their scales and other body parts, claimed to possess some kind of health benefits.
There is however no scientific proof to these claims, he said.
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