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PUTRAJAYA: Alert Malaysia Air-lines security personnel thwarted a 30-year-old man's attempt to smuggle protected arowana species to China on June 22, said Fisheries Department deputy director-general (development) Ismail Abu Hassan (pic).

He said security personnel had alerted Malaysian Agriculture Quarantine Inspection Service (MAQIS) officers after discovering water leaking from three checked-in bags on a flight to Canton.

“The MAQIS officers conducted checks and found 82 arowana fish (scloropages formosus) packed in plastic bags filled with water in the three bags. The man was detained,” he said here yesterday.

He said the man was held for questioning and released on a RM500 bail.

Ismail said the arowana, which are protected under the International Trade of Endangered Species Act 2008, were handed over to the Fisheries Bio-security centre at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport.

“The value of the seizure is about RM150,000 but each fish could fetch between RM3,000 and RM5,000 in the international market,” he added.

Ismail said the man faces a RM10,000 fine for each fish or a maximum fine of RM1mil or a jail term not exceeding seven years if convicted under the Endangered Spe-cies Act.

Ismail said there were 105 farms which were involved in breeding arowanas in the country.

“But only 27 farms have registered with the Fisheries Department to export their fish,” he added.


source The Star - Saturday 2/07/2011

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