Eight more arrested for poaching under Op Khazanah, bringing total detained to 47

KUALA LUMPUR: Police and enforcers from the Wildlife and National Parks Department (Perhilitan) have arrested eight more men under Op Khazanah, bringing the total number of arrests to 47 since the special operations to protect Malaysia’s treasured flora and fauna was launched in September.

Bukit Aman Internal Security and Public Order Deputy Director, Comm Datuk Zainal Abidin Kasim said in the latest phase, five local men and three foreigners were caught on suspicion of poaching in forests in Johor, Kelantan and Kedah.

Among those arrested were two 25-year-old Indonesians, who were caught at a food court in Gua Musang, Kelantan, on Saturday (Nov 9).

“Some of the items found included tiger claws, testicles and canine teeth, as well as elephant semen and deer hide, ” he said.

On the same day, a local man was caught in Labis, Johor, with several forest plants including wild orchids and Kacip Fatimah, while another four were caught in Kedah with tools including a chainsaw and four machetes, which were believed used for collecting Karanji wood from the Ulu Muda forest reserve.

Meanwhile, authorities also caught a Cambodian man on Sunday (Nov 10) around the Endau-Rompin National Park with 20 nylon snares and an axe.

“We believe the snares were used to trap animals and the axe was meant to collect Agarwood from the area, ” he said.

The cases are being investigated under the Wildlife Conservation Act 2010 for illegal hunting and possessing snares.

Comm Zainal said authorities will also investigate methods used by the alleged poachers to gain entry into Malaysia and its forests.

“We believe locals are also involved and accommodate them, and while some of them entered the country by legal means, others have found ways to trespass and we are now looking into how they gained entry, ” he said.

Separately, Comm Zainal said the Tiger Platoon in Sabah will be deployed to areas in Danum, Kinabatangan and Beluran to monitor wildlife poaching there.

He said operations to do the same in Sarawak are also ongoing, adding that joint collaboration from all agencies was needed to protect the country’s natural heritage.

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