New Straits Times reports from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia that the Wildlife and National Parks Department (Perhilitan) arrested 12 men and seized a variety of smuggled animal parts worth RM2 million (US$491,000.00) in a special operation known as Ops Chameleon.
Perhilitan director-general Abdul Kadir Abu Hassan said in the raid conducted last month, about 300 animal parts were seized from the syndicate which included elephant tusks, tiger skins and teeth, bear claws, and beaks of various hornbill species.
The suspects, according to Kadir, included eight Vietnamese, two Chinese nationals, and two locals.
“Based on the intelligence sharing with Interpol, the Wildlife Justice Commission, and Perhilitan since early this year, our teams have raided five locations around Kuala Lumpur and Selangor,” said Kadir.
He said Perhilitan has yet to ascertain the origin countries of the seized animal parts and the syndicate’s modus operandi but believed that the parts were smuggled in for local and international market.
The case is being investigated under Section 68 of the Wild Life Conservation Act 2010 (Act 716) which carries a maximum punishment of RM500,000 (US$123,000.00) or a jail term not more than five years.