KOTA KINABALU - Pangolins bound for the cooking pot have been saved, thanks to observant policemen manning a roadblock in the southwest Beaufort district.
The policemen discovered the animals tied up in nine sacks when they checked a car driven by a man from Johor on Oct 30.
Two of the pangolins had already died while others were severely dehydrated and under stress.
The police immediately alerted the Sabah Wildlife Department and its rangers provided treatment to the pangolins.
Four of the animals subsequently survived, the department's assistant director Dr Sen Nathan said.
Yesterday, the vehicle driver was fined RM10,000 (S$3,900) by the Beaufort magistrate court's after he admitted to illegally possessing 12 pangolins.
Carlvin Cher Jia Wei, 21, pleaded guilty to the charge under section 41(2) of the Wildlife Conservation Enactment 1997 before Magistrate Ryan Sagirann Raynor Jr.
He paid the fine.
Prosecuting Officer Abdul Karim Hj Dakog of the department told the court that the pangolins were hidden in a storage compartment of the car.
Department deputy director Augustine Tuuga said they would not tolerate crimes on wildlife in Sabah and all cases would be brought to court.
"I urge the public who have any information regarding crimes against wildlife to contact our 24 hour hotline number 012-8019289 so we can take appropriate action," added Tuuga.