JAKARTA • Indonesian police have foiled an attempt to illegally export lobster eggs worth billions of rupiah to Singapore via Jakarta's Soekarno-Hatta International Airport.
More than 200,000 eggs inside eight suitcases were confiscated, reported news site tribunnews.com on Sunday, in a smuggling case that would have cost the state 31.3 billion rupiah (S$3.3 million) if successful, said police.
"We confiscated 208,756 lobster eggs inside eight suitcases," said chief of the national police's special crimes directorate, Brigadier-General Purwadi Arianto, as quoted by the news site.
Brig-Gen Purwadi added that the police had questioned two people, identified as AM and WHY, in relation to the case.
AM attempted to board a Garuda Indonesia flight to Singapore, carrying 169,136 lobster eggs in six suitcases, while WHY took a Lion Air flight departing from Lombok, West Nusa Tenggara, carrying 39,620 lobster eggs to Soekarno- Hatta, from where he intended to continue travelling to Singapore.
From the police's preliminary investigations, it is believed that AM ordered WHY to carry the lobster eggs. Police have named AM a suspect in the case, while WHY's status so far remains that of a witness.
The police also confiscated one passport, two mobile phones, 7.1 million rupiah and $525 in cash, boarding passes and luggage claim tags.
AM is being charged with violating Indonesian laws on fisheries, and quarantine, animals and plants, and the criminal code.
Most of the lobster eggs were released on Carita Beach in Banten, with only 256 kept back to serve as evidence in the case.
THE JAKARTA POST/ASIA NEWS NETWORK