The Jakarta Post
Officials from the Mataram Fish Quarantine, Quality Control and Fishery Products Security Agency (BKIPM) have aborted an attempt to smuggle around 24,000 lobster seeds with an estimated value of more than Rp1.6 billion (US$ 122,675).
BKIPM Mataram head Muhlin said that together with a security team from state airport operator Angkasa Pura I’s office at Lombok International Airport, the quarantine officers foiled the smuggling attempt during a security operation on Oct.7.
“Four perpetrators, including an airport employee, have been taken into custody,” he said in a press conference in Mataram, West Nusa Tenggara (NTB), on Tuesday.
Muhlin further explained the smuggling attempt was discovered after airport officials became suspicious of luggage carried by JY, a Lion Air passenger departing for Batam, Riau Islands, from Lombok. Upon examination, they found 40 plastic bags each containing 500 lobster seeds in the luggage.
“Following our discovery, we apprehended JY. We also arrested three other people suspected of having helped his smuggling attempt. They are SS, BD and EP, an airport employee,” he said.
Muhlin said the four perpetrators were currently undergoing an examination jointly conducted by BKIPM Mataram investigators and the NTB Police’s special crime investigation personnel. They were being held at the police’s detention facility.
“The lobster seeds comprise two types of species, namely pearl lobsters and sand lobsters. A pearl lobster seed sells for around Rp 100,000 each and Rp 40,000 for sand lobsters. Therefore, we estimate they were worth Rp 1.6 billion,” said Muhlin.
He said the lobster seeds had all been released into their natural habitat in Pemenang waters in North Lombok. Throughout 2016, his agency had uncovered seven lobster smuggling attempts at Lombok airport. (ebf)
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