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Cops seize nine tonnes of dried turtle meat, endangered marine products worth over RM5.2m in Kudat

Cops seize nine tonnes of dried turtle meat, endangered marine products worth over RM5.2m in Kudat

KOTA KINABALU, Dec 4 — Nine tonnes of dried turtle meat and other endangered marine animal products worth over RM5.2 million were seized after inspecting a fishing vessel in Mangsee Reef waters, Kudat recently.

Sabah Police Commissioner Datuk Jauteh Dikun said the seized turtle meat is estimated to be worth RM4.5 million, with about 12,000 turtles brutally killed.

Police also confiscated two tonnes of dried cockles and sea snails, sea cucumber (90 kilogrammes (kg), sea horse (150 kg), seaweed (90kg), shark fins (5 kg), and grouper fish (200kg), all of which had been dried.

He said a marine police vessel spotted the boat, with four suspicious looking men onboard at about 11.15am on November 29 and immediately instructed them to stop for inspection.

“The boat instead suddenly turned and headed to shallow waters near the Mangsee Reef. When the boat stopped, four men were seen abandoning the ship by jumping into the water and swimming to the shallow part of the reef,” he said at a press conference here today.

“Soon after, a pump boat could be seen approaching the suspects. We believe they are part of the same group. The boat then made its way quickly to international waters,” he said.

Jauteh said investigations revealed that the suspects were not locals, and believed that the turtles were caught in both national and neighbouring country’s waters.

He said further investigations of the boat revealed that it belonged to a local citizen and was registered in Semporna, but it was still being investigated whether the owner was involved in the activities.