15 September 2021
Authorities seized 50 units of items believed to be rhino horns worth over RM30mil near the KL International Airport in Sepang.
Two Malaysians were also arrested.
The seizure under Operasi Bersepadu Khazanah is the largest involving rhino products in the past five years.
Wildlife and National Parks Department (Perhilitan) said they conducted the operation following intelligence by its special unit.
“We detained two Malaysians on Sept 9 at the roundabout near the KLIA mosque over the smuggling of wildlife.
“Following our inspection on the two, we found 50 units of items believed to be rhino products worth RM30mil. Also seized were a lorry and documents relating to the smuggling of rhino products,” said the department in a statement on Wednesday (Sept 15).
Various species of rhinos are fully protected under the country’s Wildlife Conservation Act 2010.
The animal is also listed under Appendix One of the International Trade in Endangered Species Act 2008 which forbids commercial trade.
Malaysia’s only rhino species, the Sumatran rhino, is extinct in the wild with the last specimen, Iman, dying in 2019.
Perhilitan said based on its records, the seizure was the largest in the past five years involving rhino items.
“Lately, the attempts to smuggle rhino products are serious and of a high profile nature.
“There have been five cases relating to the smuggling of rhinos, involving 96 units in the past 10 years,” added the department.
Perhilitan said the items would undergo DNA analysis at their forensic lab to identify the source country of the rhino.
“However, the items are believed to be smuggled from overseas,” it said.
Both Malaysians are being investigated under the Wildlife Conservation Act, which carries penalties of up to a RM100,000 fine or three years in jail or both.
Anyone with information on wildlife crime can call Perhilitan at 1-800-88-5151 or put in an e-complaint via the Perhilitan’s website at www.wildlife.gov.my