A Russian citizen identified as Zhestkov Andrei is facing a maximum of five years in prison after being accused of trying to smuggle a baby orangutan from Bali to Russia. Police confirmed that Andrei would be charged under the 1990 Conservation Law.
The suspect allegedly attempted to smuggle an orangutan, which is a protected animal as regulated in Law No.5/1990 on conservation of living natural resources and their ecosystems. "If found guilty, he could face a maximum of five years' imprisonment or Rp 100 million in fines," Denpasar Police chief Sr. Comr. Ruddi Setiawan told a press conference at I Gusti Ngurah Rai Airport in Badung, Bali, on Monday.
Andrei was arrested at the airport's international departure gate on Friday night, as he was allegedly trying to smuggle the two-year-old baby orangutan to Russia. He is also accused of trying to take two geckos and four chameleons out of the country. Police report that all the animals were found drugged inside a rattan basket that was itself inside a suitcase.
The animals were apparently discovered after an aviation security officer grew suspicious over a blue suitcase.
The discovery was reported to the police, the Quarantine Office and the Natural Resources Conservation Agency.
"The suspect said that the baby orangutan was taken from Java to Bali," Ruddi claimed. "We are still investigating where he got the baby orangutan."
Ruddi added that police were also investigating whether the alleged smuggler was carrying the animals for himself or for someone else. (evi)