Seventy live pangolins and 300kg of compressed snake skin were found on an Indonesian-registered boat that was intercepted by maritime enforcers off Pulau Pangkor, more than 100km from here.
Four Indonesians, aged 27 to 44, were detained by Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) officers 38 nautical miles west of the island on Friday.
“We believe the cargo was meant for the market here,” said Lumut MMEA enforcement chief Maritime Capt Abdul Razak Johan.
He said the boat was towed to the Kampung Acheh Customs jetty near Lumut and the case had been forwarded to the Wildlife and National Parks Department to be investigated under the International Trade in Endangered Species Act 2008.
Capt Abdul Razak said the cargo had a street value of RM412,000.
“My men were carrying out enforcement operations on KD Nyalau when they spotted the boat,” he said, adding that they proceeded to intercept and board it.
They found the pangolins and snake skin hidden in several compartments.
“The boat came from Belawan and our checks showed that the animals and the snake skin were being smuggled from Indonesia to Malaysia,” Capt Abdul Razak told reporters here yesterday.
According to him, the detained crewmen admitted that this was the second time this month they had smuggled exotic animals into Malaysia.