Bali police thwart sea turtle smuggling

The Bali Police have thwarted an attempt to smuggle 51 sea turtles, allegedly worth a total of Rp 150 million (US$12,346), onto the resort island Tuesday night. Six people have been arrested in the case and face a maximum 5-year prison term.

At around 9:30 p.m., a traditional boat from Madura moored in the waters off Kubu, Karangasem regency, around 90 kilometers from Denpasar. On board, the police found 51 green sea turtles, an endangered species.

Six of the boat crew were arrested - Fidaus, 30, Bakrie, 39, Riko, 18, Asan Arman, 32, Muharam, 29, and Arip, 23; all are natives of Sumenep, Madura.

Bali Police chief Insp. Gen. Albertus Julius Benny Mokalu said all the suspects would be charged with violating the 1990 Biodiversity and Ecosystem Conservation Law and could face a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a fine of Rp 100 million. "We allege that they planned to sell the turtles to be eaten," he said.