SINGAPORE: Four Indians have been arrested in Malaysia after the authorities seized over 5,000 turtles from two of them and in a separate case confiscated more than 14 kilograms of drugs, according to a media report.
The Malaysian Customs Department has seized 5,255 baby tortoises from two suspects on transit to India, The Star reported Wednesday.
In a press conference at the department's office in Sepang, Central Zone Customs assistant director-general, Datuk Zulkurnain Mohamed Yusuf said that the seizure was made on June 20 at Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2, from the two Indian nationals.
"The two men had just arrived from Guangzhou, China. The checks conducted on their luggage led to the discovery of the red-eared slider tortoises. They were kept in baskets placed in their suitcases," he said.
Further inspections on the animals showed that not all survived the trip, as the suitcases had no special tools or food to keep the tortoises alive, the report said.
The department estimated the total worth of the seizure to be around USD 12,700, (52,550 ringgit), the report added.
"The importation of tortoises without a licence is an offence under the Customs Act 1967. Both suspects have been remanded and will be charged in the near future," he said.
The tortoises, he added, would be handed over to the Wildlife and National Parks Department. In an unrelated and another case, Zulkarnain said officials also found a total of 14.
34 kgs of methamphetamine worth USD 174,000 (717,000 ringgit), hidden in special compartments in boxes that were hand-carried by two Indian men who flew in from India on June 19 and June 20, respectively.
"The first was arrested on June 19, after he arrived from Hyderabad, India. Scans of a box showed a suspicious image within. Further checks led to the discovery of a packet holding around 6. 6kg of what we believe to be methamphetamine," Zulkurnain said.
The second was arrested on June 20. A man who had just arrived from Bengaluru, had his begs scanned. Again, suspicious images from the scans led to a more thorough search.
"We found 15 small packages hidden in three boxes that had been modified. In total, around 7. 74kg of the same type of drugs were found," he said.
The two suspects are not thought to have any other links with each other, aside from the similar modus operandi.