Animal Rights

Malaysian authorities arrest "Ninja Turtle Gang" members, seize 200 smuggled tortoises and turtles

Main image to the post Malaysian authorities arrest "Ninja Turtle Gang" members, seize 200 smuggled tortoises and turtles

Malaysian officials have taken a significant step in combating wildlife crime by capturing six individuals associated with the notorious "Ninja Turtle Gang." The sting operation, led by police and wildlife officials, led to the discovery and rescue of around 200 smuggled tortoises and turtles during a raid on a house in Kuala Lumpur. Abdul Kadir Abu Hashim, the director-general of Malaysia's wildlife and national parks department, revealed that the estimated value of the confiscated reptiles amounted to $52,300.

The latest arrest marks the second seizure within a week, shedding light on the illicit activities of this criminal ring that is focused on profiting from the illegal trade of endangered species. Among the rescued animals were various species including the critically endangered Chinese striped-necked turtle, signifying the high demand for these creatures due to beliefs in their luck-bringing qualities. Additionally, the captured individuals were also found with other contraband, such as snakes, softshell turtles, lizards, and frogs, indicating a widespread operation involving different types of reptiles and amphibians.

Abdul Kadir highlighted the rampant smuggling practices where these reptiles are trafficked into Malaysia by road or hidden in suitcases on commercial flights, revealing the challenges faced by wildlife authorities in curbing such activities. The engagement of organizations like Traffic, which monitor wildlife trafficking, underscores the complexity of the issue, as Southeast Asian countries serve as both a source and destination for trafficked animals. Notably, the U.S. has also been involved in investigations related to turtle trafficking, with instances of native turtles being transported to Asia, demonstrating the global reach and impact of this criminal enterprise.

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May 21, 2023 | 05:09