PETALING JAYA: A trafficking syndicate took advantage of the Covid-19 pandemic to smuggle pangolin scales worth RM78mil, declaring them as a consignment of “cashew nuts”.
But alert Customs officers conducted a search and thwarted the attempt.
The seizure of 6,160kg of the illegal shipment was the largest haul by the Selangor Customs Department this year.
In a statement issued by the Customs headquarters in Putrajaya, it said the pangolin scales were found hidden in between sacks of cashew nuts.
“A team of Customs officers carried out an inspection on a 20-foot container in the North Port, Port Klang, on Tuesday.
“Checks showed there was no import permit for the items, ” it said, adding that import of the items required a permit from the Wildlife and National Parks Department.
Pangolin scale is categorised as a banned import item under the Third Schedule of the International Trade in Endangered Species Act 2008, unless a permit is obtained from the authorities.
The Customs Department said the importer and customs agent involved in the attempt would be investigated under Section 135(1)(a) of the Customs Act.
“We urge the public to help us fight trafficking of items particularly cigarettes, alcohol, fireworks, drugs, as well as vehicles.
“The people should not be involved in these activities as it could result in losses of revenue to the country, as well as pose a threat to security and safety of the people, ” it added.
The public can channel any information to the Customs hotline at 1-800-88-8855 or the nearest Customs offices nationwide.