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Jakarta Post

Two suspected elephant poachers arrested, tusks seized in Riau

  • Rizal Harahap

    The Jakarta Post

Pekanbaru   /   Wed, August 5, 2020   /   08:11 am
Two suspected elephant poachers arrested, tusks seized in Riau According to the police, the suspects plannedĀ to sell the elephant'sĀ tusks for Rp 4 million per kilogram. The pair of tusks seized from the alleged killers weigh 7kg in total. (Courtesy of Indragiri Hulu Police/-)

Police in Indragiri Hulu, Riau, have arrested two men for their alleged involvement in the killing of a wild elephant in April, though the mastermind behind the illegal slaughter remains at large.

An investigation into the killing began after the Riau Natural Resources Conservation Agency (BKSDA) and the local police received a report regarding the finding of a male elephant carcass with its trunk cut off in a community plantation at the regency's Kelayang district on April 15.

The necropsy conducted by the agency revealed that the elephant had been shot dead.

The police later received information that a 52-year-old man identified as Ucok, a resident of Sikakak village in Riau's Kuantan Singigi regency, was allegedly involved in the killing. Ucok was previously jailed for killing an elephant in 2015.

Indragiri Hulu Police chief Adj. Comr. Sr. Efrizal said on Monday that the police arrested Ucok in Sei Rampah subdistrict, Serdang Bedagai regency, North Sumatra, on July 1.

After taking Ucok's statement, they arrested another suspect named Sukar, 29, at his plantation in Paku Satu village in Kelayang district in the evening of July 2.

The police are pursuing the third suspect and the alleged mastermind behind the killing, named as Ari Karyo bin Amin, who is still on the run, Efrizal said.

“Both suspects confessed that they were ordered by Ari to carry out the killing. Ucok said that he had already received Rp 2.5 million [US$171.67] for operational funds from Ari,” Efrizal said.

During the arrests, the police confiscated a shotgun, 29 rounds of ammunition, a spent cartridge, a pair of elephant tusks, an elephant’s skull, an axe, a cleaver and a flashlight.

“Based on their confessions, they initially planned to sell the tusks for Rp 4 million per kilogram. The tusks that we have confiscated weigh 7kg in total," he said, "We are still investigating the tusk trade network."

According to the police, Ari was in the same group as Ucok during the elephant killing in 2015 and he was the one with knowledge of the tusk market.

Ucok and Sukar have been charged under Article 40 of the 1990 Conservation Law, Article 55 of the Criminal Code and Article 1 of the 1951 Emergency Law.

"They face up to five years’ imprisonment and a maximum fine of Rp 100 million for killing the elephant. They could also get the maximum punishment of a life sentence for the possession of illegal firearms," Efrizal added. (dpk)