Jakarta

Attempt to smuggle 40 pythons
on plane foiled

Soekarno-Hatta International Airport officers have reportedly foiled an attempt at smuggling pythons on a flight heading to Dubai, airport operator PT Angkasa Pura II said Saturday.

“The officers caught two Kuwaitis trying to smuggle 40 reticulated pythons on an Emirates Airlines flight heading to Dubai on Friday afternoon,” Angkasa Pura II said.

The suspects, Yaqub Ebrahim and Ali Hasan, hid the sedated pythons in their carry-on luggage, but officers at the international departure checkpoint at terminal 2D detected the extremely suspicious items.

Angkasa Pura II operational and technical director Salahudin Rafi said this python smuggling attempt was not the first of its kind at Soekarno-Hatta.

“We have managed to foil the smuggling of birds and other rare animals in the past. The suspects usually sedate the animals so officers wouldn't detect them at checkpoints,” Salahudin said.

He said animals and plants were among the items strictly prohibited from being carried in luggage by passengers on board aircraft.

Every passenger should declare any animal or plant to the quarantine desk to get special handling and permission, he said.

”In the name of flight safety and security, no kind of animal is allowed to be brought onto aircraft without permission and special handling,” he said. “We usually place [the animals] in the cargo hold instead of the passenger cabin. In this case, pythons are among the animals banned.”

The two suspects are now being questioned by airport authorities.

The pythons were taken to the animal quarantine center at the airport.

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