Customs thwarts bid to smuggle 71,982 baby lobsters

Directorate General of Customs of the Ministry of Finance has foiled an attempt to smuggle in 71,982 baby lobsters, kept in 193 packages, at Terminal 2D of the Soekarno Hatta International Airport of Tangerang.

The baby lobsters, classified under sand and pearl lobsters, were hidden in four bags and are estimated to be valued at Rupiah 14.4 billion. In a press conference at the Soekarno-Hatta Airport Customs Offices on Friday, Minister of Finance Sri Mulyani told about the chronological order of the event, which started after the authorities received a tip-off from the public.

During the initial examination, the customs officials searched the baggage but were unable to find anything. They then went to inspect the baggage loaded into the airplane as well as the plane cabin.

"They found four bags containing baby lobsters in an Lion Air aircraft going to Singapore," she said.

After seizing the evidence, they arrested four couriers, identified with the initials YYA, AJ, PF, MRW, a well as leader PMW.

Meanwhile, personnel of the Aviation Security of Angkasa Pura II also found baby lobsters hidden in a luggage. A total of 14,507 baby lobsters had been kept in 32 bags. The total value of the findings was estimated to be Rupiah 2.9 billion. They were in the same flight to Singapore.

The evidence, along with the culprit identified as MRB, are in holding in the Fish Quarantine Center for Quality Control.

Baby lobster is included in the list of sea resources illegal to catch, in accordance with the Minister of Marine Affairs and Fisheries Regulation number 56/PERMEN-KP/2016, which bans catching or exporting lobster (Panulirus) and crab (Scylla and Portunus pelagicus). The perpetrators face criminal offences, 10 years in prison, and a minimum of Rupiah 50 million and a maximum of Rupiah 5 billion fine.

The government is committed to preserve marine wealth and protect it from excessive exploitation. "Customs, National Police, and the Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries continue their synergy to improve the welfare of fishermen and sustainability of sea biodiversity in Indonesia," Mulyani said.

Source: Antara News

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