Kochi: Authorities in Malaysia have busted a syndicate that claimed to be selling tiger parts allegedly sourced from India and arrested three Indian nationals, a global wildlife trade monitoring network said Wednesday.
TRAFFIC, the wildlife trade monitoring network, said Malaysian authorities last week seized five skins, 471 claws, 25 canines, 309 fragments of skin and 17 paws, all claimed by the syndicate to be tiger parts.
It said the Department of Wildlife and National Parks' (Perhilitan) Wildlife Crime Unit also found dozens of unidentified wildlife skin, 22 parts of various other animals as well as 120 and 242 bangles said to contain elephant hair.
"All items will be subjected to DNA forensics testing..Authorities also believe that the wildlife parts were sourced from India, making this an international operation," TRAFFIC said in a release, quoting Malaysian officials.
"Two men and a woman from India have been remanded for four days and are being investigated under Section 68 and 87 of the Wildlife Conservation Act 2010 which relate to possession and claims to contain totally protected species," TRAFFIC said.
Following a tip off, the Department of Wildlife and National Parks' (Perhilitan) Wildlife Crime Unit investigated the suspects and organized a bust.
The traders and suppliers of the gang were arrested on August 26 in the heart of Kuala Lumpur. The investigation and raid was part of Perhilitan's Ops Geng Rajja, TRAFFIC said.
Quoting Perhilitan Law Enforcement Director Abdul KadirHashim, TRAFFIC said initial investigations also revealed that it was not the trio's first visit to Malaysia.
It said Abdul Kadir told reporters that a similar case was reported in June 2013 and authorities were looking into possible links between the syndicates involved in both cases.
"This case is a true reflection of how law enforcement andinvestigations can crack down on trafficking," said Kanitha Krishnasamy, TRAFFIC Programme Manager in Southeast Asia.
"TRAFFIC particularly welcomes the Department's achievement in helping shut down this syndicate's operations. Very often items for sale purporting to be Tiger parts are not genuine, but regardless of their authenticity, those purchasing such items help to fuel the demand for endangered species," Krishnasamy said.