Ops Bersepadu Khazanah has been launched to combat wildlife poachers and smugglers. Under the operation if found guilty, they could be whipped under tougher laws that were proposed to combat the scourge, says Inspector-General of Police Datuk Seri Abdul Hamid Bador.
He said he would submit the recommendation to the police’s Legal Affairs Division for tougher penalties to combat poaching and wildlife trafficking in the country.
“There are at least 12 Acts protecting wildlife, forest and marine life, but drastic measures and actions need to be taken, or we will lose them.
“We will also mobilise personnel under the Internal Security and Public Order Department, including the air unit and marine police through Op Bersepadu Khazanah to assist the Wildlife and National Parks Department to combat wildlife crime in the jungle, air and sea, ” he said.
“The operations, previously coordinated by the Crime Prevention and Community Safety Department, will be boosted by the expertise of the Senoi Praaq Team (Battalion 3) and the GOF from Battalion 18.
“Although police are busy with operations against drugs, alcohol, bribery and more, we cannot be selfish and not protect wildlife, ” he said.
The Senoi Praaq battalion comprises Orang Asli officers who are highly skilled at tracking in the forest.
Abdul Hamid said the police would also tighten the issuance of hunting permits, adding that at least 30,000 licences to carry guns had been issued, while 7,400 persons were given permits to hunt.
“We found that some locals have been using this permit for illegal hunting, and therefore, I will make it more stringent to get the licence.
“I will also ensure we will recall and cancel the licences and permits that are no longer relevant or necessary, ” he said.
Abdul Hamid said the police had made at least 154 arrests involving exotic flora and fauna cases, including Malaysians and foreign nationals from China, Indonesia and the Philippines from 2017 to 2019.
“We’ve seized items worth about RM52mil like logs, mangrove trees, orang utan, foxes, stone magpies, turtle eggs and shells, as well as vehicles used by poachers.
“The 19 hotspots for the wildlife and endangered flora trade include Padang Besar (Perlis), Bukit Kayu Hitam (Kedah), Pengkalan Hulu (Perak), Rantau Panjang (Kelantan), the Kuala Lumpur International Airport, Kudat (Sabah) and Serikin (Sarawak), ” said Abdul Hamid, who also encouraged the public to contact the police if they had information about poaching.
Source: The Star