TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - Riau Province is one of the gateways for an international syndicate to smuggle endangered animals, Director of Criminal Detective Unit of the Riau Provincial Police Adjunct Senior Commissioner Andri Sudarmadi said on Sunday.
The Riau Provincial Police foiled a smuggling attempt by confiscating four African lion babies, a leopard baby, and 58 Indiana Star turtles early on Saturday (Dec. 14, 2019).
On Saturday night, the Riau Provincial Natural Resources Conservation Office (BBKSDA) also rescued three orangutan babies left behind by unidentified people near Sibam bridge in Pekanbaru, capital of Riau Province.
During the raid, the police arrested two people for allegedly being involved in an international animal trade syndicate. If found guilty, the two suspects identified by their initials as Yat and Is may be sentenced to up to 10 years in jail.
The attempt of smuggling endangered animals via Riau is the second of its kinds foiled by the police this year. In October 2019, the police also arrested a person accused of smuggling a cheetah baby.
Chief of the Riau Provincial Police Inspector General Agung Setya Imam Effend said the police will continue to launch a manhunt for other suspects.
He said a lion or leopard is priced at up to US$32,000 or Rp450 million, while an Indiana Star turtle is priced at US$1,200 or Rp17 million in the black market.