SEPANG – The Royal Malaysian Customs Department took the bull by its horns when it thwarted an attempt to smuggle a large consignment of rhinoceros horns worth about RM13.67 million last Friday.
This followed the seizure of a wooden box containing 18 horns upon arrival at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) via Qatar Airways from Mozambique which transitted in Doha.
A team of customs enforcement officers seized the rhinoceros horn cargo weighing 51.445kg about 5.40pm.
The cargo was declared as ‘Obra De Arte’ (ornaments) in the Airway Bill while the address of the recipient in Nilai was false, said KLIA Customs director Datuk Hamzah Sundang.
He said acting on a tip-off, KLIA customs officers conducted a search at the Air Cargo Warehouse in the KLIA Free Trade Zone and seized the wooden box which was suspected to have been laden with prohibited goods.
“(Initial investigations revealed) the smuggled rhinoceros horns are for the Malaysian market,” he told a media conference here today.
Hamzah said rhinoceros horn imports were banned under the Third Schedule of the International Trade in Endangered Species Act 2008 (Act 686), except with permit.
According to him, rhinoceros horns are also listed as prohibited import under the Customs (Prohibition of Import) Order 2012, except with import permit from the Wildlife and National Parks Department (Perhilitan).
The case is investigated under Section 135(1) (a) of the Customs Act 1967 for importing prohibited goods which provides for a fine of a minimum of 10 times or a maximum of 20 times the value of the goods seized, or jail not more than three years or both.
Meanwhile, the KLIA Customs also foiled an attempt to smuggle 2.12kg of ketamin worth RM95,400, with the arrest of an Indian national who arrived at Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 (klia2) on April 5, via a flight from Chennai, India.
Hamzah said the 65-year-old businessman had entered Malaysia nine times.
He said the case was investigated under Section 39B of the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952 which carries the mandatory death sentence upon conviction. – BERNAMA