A team from the Sabah Wildlife department recovered cuts of pangolin, civet cat, flying fox and bearded pig meat stored at the restaurant on Sunday. (Pix by Sabah Wildlife Department)

KOTA KINABALU: A restaurant owner was arrested following the discovery of an assortment of meat of protected species in Semporna.

A team from the Sabah Wildlife department recovered cuts of pangolin, civet cat, flying fox and bearded pig meat stored at the restaurant on Sunday.

State Wildlife director Augustine Tuuga said two monitor lizards and two reticulated pythons kept in cages were also found at the restaurant.

“We have detained the restaurant owner. Investigations are being carried out under Section 41(2) of the Wildlife Conservation Enactment 1997 for possession of protected species," he said.

The offence carries a fine between RM30,000 and RM100,000 or jail term between one year and three years or both, if convicted.

Tuuga said the raid was conducted as part of the department's opeartions to hunt turtle poachers in the east coast districts.

The following day, the team moved further inland to Sungai Udin in Tawau. The operation focused on a road block along the Tawau-Kalabakan road.

During the operation, the team stopped a lorry and found deer meat in their vehicle.

Tuuga said the lorry driver and his passenger were detained for possesing dear meat without permit.