Customs arrest suspected rare animal smugglers
Confiscated hornbill beaks on display in Jakarta on Monday. Customs officials recently caught four Chinese nationals allegedly smuggling 248 hornbill beaks out of the country in their luggage. The beaks of the hornbill, an endangered species, are worth more than Rp 1 billion (US$103,600) in China. (Antara/M Agung Rajasa)
Four Chinese nationals have been arrested for allegedly attempting to smuggle hornbill's beaks and pangolin scales for use in traditional medicines.
Forestry Ministry official Novianto Bambang says the men were detained Friday with 248 hornbill's beaks and 189 pangolin's skins in their luggage at Jakarta's Soekarno-Hatta airport. Both animals are listed as endangered.
He said Monday the four were part of an international trafficking syndicate and they bought the haul from local poachers on Indonesia's part of Borneo island.
Demand for endangered animals in traditional Chinese medicines is driving poaching in countries in Asia and Africa.
Indonesia is home to 14 of the 57 hornbill species, which are on the brink of extinction because of deforestation and poaching.