"As many as 71 protected reptiles were to be smuggled into Bangkok, Thailand, after making a transit in Jakarta," General Manager of the PT Angkasa Pura I Adisutjiptio Airport Agus Pandu Purnama stated in a release here on Monday.
The authority thwarted the attempt on Saturday (Jan 7) and arrested two suspects, identified as YF and VY, both residents of Magelang, a neighboring district of Central Java Province.
At the x-ray screening checkpoint, several boxes, which the suspects had claimed to contain gudeg, a local culinary delicacy of Yogyakarta, drew the suspicion of the airport authority.
The boxes were placed inside a luggage belonging to the two suspects, who were scheduled to board AirAsia Flight No. QZ 7557.
The boxes were well-organized to pass undetected through the 3D screening machine and to hoodwink the airport authority, Purnama stated.
Examining the boxes, the authority found dozens of reptiles comprising 20 biawaks (monitor lizard), eight blue-tongued lizards, 20 turtles, 10 green frogs, five pythons, and nine soa payungs, or frilled-neck lizards.
The findings have been reported to the Class II Quarantine Office of Yogyakarta.
Head of the Class II Quarantine Office of Yogyakarta Wisnu Haryana stated that among the confiscated reptiles, there were three species protected by the government: the frilled-neck lizard, brown monitor lizard of Maluku and Timor, and the blue-tongued lizard.
The suspects violated Article 7 of Law No. 16 of 1992 on animal quarantine and its Article 40, Paragraph 2, on conservation crime.
The perpetrators are liable to face a maximum penalty of five years imprisonment or a maximum fine of Rp100 million if proven guilty.
The evidence has been handed over to the Yogyakarta Police Office for further investigation.
(Reporting by Victorianus Sat Pranyoto/Uu.A059/INE/KR-BSR/A014)