KOTA KINABALU: Another batch of turtle eggs was seized today, this time involving about 4,000 which the authorities believe were being smuggled into Sandakan from neighbouring Philippines.
The egg bust comes a day after a local man here who had been selling turtle eggs online was jailed and fined for having the eggs without a permit.
Marine police found the latest batch of eggs on two pump boats entering the Sungai Batu 3 area from the open sea during the wee hours.
However, two suspects who were in the boats evaded arrest and escaped into the swamps when they were approached in the shallow waters.
“On realising the presence of our men, the two skippers abandoned their boats and fled in the cover of darkness,” said Sandakan Marine Police Commander Deputy Supt Rusdin Banin.
He said on checking the pump boats, they found the turtle eggs in eight gunny sacks, adding marine police believe the boats were from the southern Philippines.
Rusdin said that the eggs were handed over the Sandakan Wildlife Department for further investigations under the Wildlife Conservation Enactment 1997.
On Friday, Sessions Court judge Elsie Primus jailed 21-year-old Alsirad Samad a year and fined him RM200,000, in default two more years in prison after he pleaded guilty to having 20 eggs of the Green Turtle which is a totally protected species under the Wildlife Preservation Enactment 1997.
All species of turtles are endangered animals and fully protected under the said law. This includes animal products such as their eggs.
It is an offence to for any individual to keep or have the animals or animal products without a permit from the Wildlife Department.
The offence is punishable under Section 41(1) of the Wildlife Conservation Enactment 1997 which provides for a fine of between RM50,000, and RM250,000 or a jail term of between a year and five years, or both, upon conviction.