"The pangolins were smuggled from South Sumatra by the four suspects," Bengkalis police chief Adjunct Senior Commissioner Hadi Wicaksono said here on Monday.
Hadi stated that the four suspects, aged between 32 and 49 years, were arrested on Sunday by patrolling officers near Pekanbaru-Bengkalis route in Siak Kecil sub-district, Bengkalis.
They were planning to smuggle the protected species to Malaysia through illegal port in the border areas of Dumai and Bengkalis.
"The police smelled a suspicious odor from the car. When they checked inside, they found dozens of pangolins tied up in sacks and baskets," he added.
The police have seized the pangolins for further investigation. Five of the pangolins died, and 84 others needed medical attention.
Hadi noted that the police have worked in cooperation with Riau conservation agency to take further action to save the protected species.
All pangolin species are protected under national and international laws, and two are listed as Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.(*)