Tuesday, February 18

Customs foils attempts to smuggle baby tortoises, drugs at klia2


Zulkurnain (centre) and Wahabi (left) show the methamphetamine and the tortoises. — Bernama photo

SEPANG: The Royal Malaysian Customs Department (JKDM) has foiled an attempt to smuggle 5,255 baby red-eared slider tortoises to India at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 (klia2) on Thursday, following the arrest of two Indian nationals.

Central Zone Customs assistant director-general Datuk Zulkurnain Mohamed Yusuf said the tortoises, worth RM52,550, were kept in 32 small baskets placed in the suitcases belonging to the two male suspects.

He said, when detained, the two Indian men have just arrived from Guangzhou, China.

“We believe the tortoises are not for local market but the klia2 was used as a transit before the tortoises to be brought to India,” he told a press conference at the Customs Cargo Complex here yesterday.

Also present was Kuala Lumpur International Airport Customs director Abdul Wahabi Abdullah.

The two suspects, aged 30 and 42, were remanded for 14 days, while the tortoises were sent to the Department of Wildlife and National Parks (Perhilitan) for further action, he said.

In an unrelated development, Zulkurnain said the JKDM had also foiled attempts to smuggle methamphetamine worth RM717,000 in two separate cases at klia2 last week, involving two Indian nationals who arrived from Hyderabad and Bengaluru, on Wednesday and Thursday, respectively.

In the first case involving a 6.6kg methamphetamine worth RM330,000 on Wednesday, the drugs were found hidden in a special compartment at the bottom of a box containing a wet grinder carried by the man, he said.

While in the second case on Thursday, which involved 7.74 kg of methamphetamine packed in 15 packets, worth RM387,000, were found hidden in three modified boxes, he said.

“There was no link between the two suspects despite using similar modus operandi,” he said.

He said the first suspect who arrived from Hyderabad was first time visitor while the second suspect visited the country for the third time.

The two suspects were now remanded and the cases were being investigated under Section 39 (b) of the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952 and if convicted, they may be subject to mandatory death sentence, he said. — Bernama