Three Chinese nationals held in turtle smuggling bid

SEPANG - Three Chinese nationals were arrested at KL International Airport for trying to smuggle three turtles from Indonesia to China.

KLIA Customs director Datuk Chik Omar Chik Lim said the three, all in their 40s, were stopped at about 11.30am on Tuesday while they were waiting to leave for Guangzhou.

"They arrived at the airport at 9am from Medan. The turtles were wrapped in plastic bags and stuffed into their luggage bags with their clothes," he told reporters yesterday.

Chik Omar said the turtles were believed to be sold for medicinal purposes.

"The shell is used as decoration but the the body parts will be sold as medicine.

"The demand for turtles in China is very high," he added.

Chik Omar said the suspects had been remanded for five days for investigation under Section 12 (a) of the International Trade in EndanĀ­gered Species Act and Section 64 of the Wildlife Conservation Act.

If convicted, they could face a jail term of not more than seven years or a fine of not more than RM100,000 (S$39,000) or both under the first Act.

The suspects could also be jailed up to three years and fined a maximum of 10 times the value of the items under the second Act.