159kg of elephant tusks seized at KLIA

159kg of elephant tusks seized at KLIA
Mammoth haul: Chik Omar (centre) holding up one of the elephant tusks seized from two Vietnamese men at KLIA.
PHOTO: The Star

SEPANG: A total of 159kg of elephant tusks worth about RM1.59mil (S$537,052) was seized at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport on two separate occasions.

Authorities also seized 850g of drugs worth RM95,370 in another case at the airport.

In the first case, two Vietnamese men, aged 41 and 25, were arrested at the arrival hall at about 6pm on Friday.

"A scan on four of their bags roused the suspicion of Customs officers, who discovered 18 elephant tusks hidden in them.

"The tusks weighed 101kg and are worth about RM1mil," said KLIA Customs Department director Datuk Chik Omar Chik Lim yesterday.

Ivory is a prohibited item under the International Trade in Endangered Species Act 2008.

"The tusks cannot be imported into the country without a permit from the Department of Wildlife and National Parks," he added.

Preliminary investigations found that both suspects flew from Luanda to Addis Ababa before arriving here. It is believed that they were on transit to another country.

"One of them had entered Malaysia three times while the other, only once. They have been remanded for a week for possessing contraband items," he added.

In the second case, five elephant tusks and seven packets of cut tusks worth about RM580,000 were confiscated from two luggage bags ­during an operation at 9pm on the same day.

Checks revealed that the bags belonged to a Vietnamese man who was on transit and had arrived here from Addis Ababa. His destination was Hanoi.

"We believe that he is linked to the men we had arrested earlier," he said, adding that the man did not come to pick up the bags.

In the third case on Monday, a 37-year-old Malaysian woman was arrested at the KLIA mail and ­courier centre after claiming a parcel containing methamphetamine hidden among several car components.

"The parcel was posted from Nigeria and declared as car parts. When we checked it, we found a white powder inside which tested positive as drugs," he added.

The woman, who worked at a restaurant in Cyberjaya, has been remanded for seven days under Section 39B of the Dangerous Drugs Act 1953.

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