By Rhishja Cota-Larson
Customs officers at Jakarta International Airport nabbed four suspects who were attempting to smuggle 189 pangolin skins and 248 hornbill casques out of the country.
Four Chinese nationals identified as Li Bing, Wu Qiyi, Zhijian Li and Yin Zhaoyun were arrested, thanks to a tip-off. A search revealed that the skins and casques were hidden in their luggage. Indopos.com reports they were about to board China Airlines flight CI-678 to Hong Kong. The incident occurred during the first week of January 2013.
If convicted, the suspects face a maximum prison term of ten years and fines of up to IDR $5 billion (US $518,940), according to TRAFFIC Southeast Asia.
Pangolin skins and hornbill casques are unfortunately both prized in traditional medicines, although the effectiveness is unproven. Hornbill casques are also carved into decorative trinkets. Both species are believed to be in decline, due to a combination of illegal trade and deforestation.