Four Indians have been detained by Malaysian authorities here for investigation after the seizure of more than 1,000 exotic turtles worth Rs 99 lakh during a sting operation.
Natural resources and environment minister Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said the Indian nationals were detained to assist in investigations.
The seizure by the Wildlife Crime Unit was worth an estimated RM 600,000 (Rs 99 lakh).
Wan Junaidi said two suspects were detained when a house in the suburb of Petaling Jaya was raided on Monday. “A total of 1,011 star tortoises and 23 Indian roofed turtles were seized,” he said.
Two more suspects were picked from a budget hotel here on Tuesday. Wan Junaidi said enforcement officers found 36 black pond turtles in four bags.
Checks showed all four suspects did not possess a licence from the Wildlife and National Parks Department (Perhilitan) to keep the reptiles.
The suspects will be investigated under Section 68 of Malaysia’s Wildlife Protection Act of 2010 for keeping wildlife without a special permit. The offence carries a jail term of up to three years, a maximum fine of RM 100,000, or both.