The seized items, estimated to be worth over RM200,000, have been handed over to investigating officers for further investigation under the Wildlife Conservation Enactment 1997 on suspicion of attempting to smuggle protected species. - Pic courtesy of APMM Kudat
The seized items, estimated to be worth over RM200,000, have been handed over to investigating officers for further investigation under the Wildlife Conservation Enactment 1997 on suspicion of attempting to smuggle protected species. - Pic courtesy of APMM Kudat

KUDAT: The Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) has thwarted an attempt to smuggle over RM200,000 worth of endangered species off the waters of Kudat.

District MMEA director Maritime Commander Maurice Grenville Abeyeratne said during the operations, their asset was deployed towards a boat reported to be engaging in suspicious activities in the eastern coastal area of Tanjung Kalutan Beach.

The suspects attempted to flee to shallow waters to evade the Maritim Malaysia enforcement team during the 5pm incident on Sunday.

Upon arrival at the location, the Maritim Malaysia patrol boat discovered 23 sacks of dried turtle meat estimated to weigh 160 kg and 52 sacks of dried sea cucumbers weighing approximately 500 kg.

The seized items, estimated to be worth over RM200,000, have been handed over to investigating officers for further investigation under the Wildlife Conservation Enactment 1997 on suspicion of attempting to smuggle protected species.

In a separate incident, Maurice also reported that the Kudat Maritime Zone managed to detain a boat without a registration number for committing several offences approximately 1.85 nautical miles southeast of Tagumamal Laut, Kudat, last Saturday.

Upon inspection, Kudat Maritime Zone officers detained two individuals operating the boat, both of whom were localsaged 17 and 27.

The suspects, along with the boat and the seized items, were detained for investigation under the Fisheries Act 1985 and the Sabah Ports and Harbours Enactment 2002 for not having a fishing licence and using prohibited fishing equipment.