Indonesia: Pangolin Skins and Hornbill Casques Seized, Four Suspects Arrested

Four Chinese nationals were arrested in Indonesia while attempting to smuggle 189 pangolin skins and 248 hornbill casques to Hong Kong. Photo: iStockphoto.com

Customs officers at Jakarta International Airport nabbed four suspects who were attempting to smuggle 189 pangolin skins and 248 hornbill casques out of the country.

Four Chinese nationals identified as Li Bing, Wu Qiyi, Zhijian Li and Yin Zhaoyun were arrested, thanks to a tip-off. A search revealed that the skins and casques were hidden in their luggage. Indopos.com reports they were about to board China Airlines flight CI-678 to Hong Kong. The incident occurred during the first week of January 2013.

Hornbill casques are used in traditional medicines and also carved into decorative trinkets. Photo by Derek Ramsey via Wikimedia Commons.

If convicted, the suspects face a maximum prison term of ten years and fines of up to IDR $5 billion (US $518,940), according to TRAFFIC Southeast Asia.

Pangolin skins and hornbill casques are unfortunately both prized in traditional medicines, although the effectiveness is unproven. Hornbill casques are also carved into decorative trinkets. Both species are believed to be in decline, due to a combination of illegal trade and deforestation.


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Rhishja Cota-Larson

I am the founder of Annamiticus, and I work as an independent Wildlife Trade and Communication Design Consultant. I have journeyed to the streets of Hanoi to research the illegal wildlife trade, and to the rainforests of Sumatra and Java to document the world’s rarest rhinos. I am a Co-Chair of the SSN Pangolin Working Group. At CITES meetings, I collaborate with colleagues from around the world to lobby in favor of protecting endangered species. I am a Wildlife Trade and Trafficking Consultant for the upcoming documentary The Price, the host of Behind the Schemes and author of the book Murder, Myths & Medicine. I enjoy desert gardening, herping, reading, designing, and walking with my dogs.