Outlet in hot water over exotic menu

Abdul Kadir (left) and Perhilitan officers showing the seized exotic meat during the press conference in Kuala Lumpur.

KUALA LUMPUR - Apart from standard fare, the kitchen of a restaurant in Cheras was allegedly serving up exotic dishes featuring bear's foot and tapir's nose under its "special order" menu.

Department of Wildlife and National Parks (Perhilitan) enforcement officers raided the restaurant and seized 2.95kg of bear flesh, 1.2kg of pangolin scales, three soft-shelled turtles, 20 bats, 7.4kg of wild boar parts and other types of exotic meat.

"The animal parts were found in the kitchen and freezer of the restaurant during a raid by the Perhilitan wildlife crime unit," said Perhilitan enforcement director Abdul Kadir Abu Hashim during a press conference here yesterday.

He said Perhilitan officers had observed the restaurant for two months before making their move because the exotic meat was not offered daily.

"The demand for the dishes is high. The average price of an exotic dish sold by the shop is about RM60 (S$23).

"Those featuring bear's foot or tapir's nose should fetch higher prices," Abdul Kadir said.

Two restaurant workers - a man and his sister, both in their 40s - were arrested to assist in investigations but were granted a RM15,000 bail each with two sureties.

The pair are expected to face court charges on Sept 19.

Among others, the case falls under Section 68(1)(b) of the Wildlife Conservation Act 2010 for taking or keeping any part of a totally protected wildlife without a special permit.

Those convicted can be fined up to RM100,000, jailed up to three years or both.

Abdul Kadir said Perhilitan officers also raided four restaurants in Kedah for similar offences and made similar seizures that included what is thought to be the head of a clouded leopard.

"There have been 78 cases involving wild boar meat, five involving bats and four involving tapir parts reported since 2006," he said.