Denpasar, Bali (ANTARA) - The Bali provincial police thwarted an attempt to smuggle some 60,000 larvae of pearl and sand lobsters to Vietnam, and apprehended two suspects early Monday.

The suspects nabbed by the police personnel at a motel in Sidakarya Village, Denpasar, were identified by their initials ERA, 26, and ATH, 35, Chief of the Bali Marine Police Force Sen. Coms. Hadi Purnomo said here Monday. ERA functioned as a courier while ATH was the financier who was involved in a transaction of Rp95 billion through a bank's automated teller machine, Purnomo said.

The suspects procured the larvae of the pearl and sand lobsters from West Nusa Tenggara Province to be transported to Vietnam. However, the larvae package was not declared at the Customs in Ngurah Rai International Airport to Vietnam via Singapore.

The total financial losses that Indonesia could have suffered had the 36,000 larvae of sand lobsters been smuggled was estimated at Rp9 billion while the smuggling of 24,000 larvae of pearl lobsters could cause financial losses of up to Rp7.2 billion.

The police investigators also confiscated a vehicle, 150 plastic bags containing some 60,000 larvae of pearl and sand lobsters as evidence, he said.

Due to the huge profits from trading lobsters, irresponsible people have frequently attempted to smuggle the larvae of the sand and pearl lobsters.

In May, Indonesian police investigators grilled Kong Huping, a Chinese citizen after he was arrested for attempting to smuggle several hundred thousand baby lobsters from Jambi Province's waters to Batam Island and Singapore.

National Police investigators questioned the suspect for two days, Director of Marine Police of the Jambi Provincial Police Senior Commissioner Fauzi Bakti said.

The smuggling attempt was thwarted by the Jambi marine police, he said, adding that police investigators also attempted to apprehend the suspect's business partner, identified by his initials, LN.

Bakti said the baby lobsters were to be smuggled by Kong Huping through the Jambi-Batam waters on May 13 and 14 and were estimated to be worth Rp40 billion.

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Translator: Ayu KP, Rahmad Nasution
Editor: Sri Haryati
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