JAKARTA, KOMPAS.com - A joint operation by the Indonesian Police and other law enforcement agencies thwarted the smuggling attempt of 23,942 lobster seeds through Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in Tangerang near Jakarta on Friday, March 5.
The lobster seeds were disguised as garment products, according to the police official website humas.polri.go.id.
The Fish Quarantine Agency, Quality Control and Safety of Fishery Products (BKIPM) head, Rina, said that the lobster seeds were being shipped to Tanjung Pinang in Riau Islands by a Garuda Indonesia cargo aircraft flight GA 286.
"Thanks to the joint operation by relevant authorities and stakeholders at the airport, we have stopped the illegal delivery of lobster seeds on Friday, March 5," said Rina in a statement on Sunday, March 7.
Rina said the shipper disguised the lobster seeds as garment products such as bedsheets, shirts, and pants. However, airport staffers found something suspicious when the packets passed through the x-rays.
When the packets were opened, the staffers found 30 bags of lobster seeds and five bottles of ice cubes.
"Each bag contains 800 lobster seeds which comprise 584 types of sand and 158 types of pearls," Rina said.
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The BKIPM officers immediately confiscated the lobster seeds for further action.
Rina said that her office and the police are still chasing the shipper of the illegal commodity.
"They are still searching for a suspect," she said.
"We will continue to monitor the case. Hopefully, this will serve as a warning [to other people],” she added.
Lobster cultivation is being actively carried out by the community in many lobster cultivation centers in Indonesia such as in Lombok, Sumatra, West Java, and Aceh.
The Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries will continue its efforts to eradicate the smuggling of lobster seeds. Rina said that the ministry will always monitor the commodity, especially in areas that are prone to smuggling.
Last year, Indonesia’s Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) has apprehended Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Minister Edhy Prabowo in a sting operation held in Soekarno-Hatta International Airport near the capital in November. His arrest was related to an alleged graft case in lobster seed exports.
(Writer: Ivany Atina Arbi | Editor: Ivany Atina Arbi)
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