PASIR PUTIH: Marine police foiled an attempt to smuggle 90 palm civets and 14 tortoises near Sungai Semerak here on Sunday.

The animals, which were seized near a jetty in Taman Sara about 11am, are estimated to be worth about RM19,000.

Marine police third region commander Assistant Commissioner Norzaid Muhammad Said said a marine police team from the Tok Bali base had spotted 90 baskets containing the palm civets and two plastic containers with the tortoises.

He said no suspects were nabbed during the operation, which was launched after a tip-off.

“After waiting for almost an hour, no one turned up to claim the animals. The marine police officers then seized them.

Marine police third region commander Assistant Commissioner Norzaid Muhammad Said (right) said a marine police team from the Tok Bali base had spotted 90 baskets containing the palm civets and two plastic containers with the tortoises. NSTP/ZAMAN HURI ISA

“The animals were believed to be intended to be sold to exotic food lovers in Thailand and Vietnam,” he said.

Norzaid said initial investigations showed that the palm civets and tortoises were captured from jungles in the state.

“Investigation also revealed that the animals would be sold to a smuggling syndicate once they managed to catch sufficient numbers of them in the jungle.

“A palm civet will be sold at RM200 per animal while tortoises fetch RM14 per kg,” he said.

Norzaid said he believed that the syndicate members would use the sea route to deliver the animals to the suppliers to avoid being detected by the authorities.

Marine police foiled an attempt to smuggle 90 palm civets and 14 tortoises near Sungai Semerak here on Sunday. NSTP/ZAMAN HURI ISA