Sarawak Customs Dept digs out, relocates disposed chicken wings after scavenging scare

Pictures of people digging up the chicken wings at the site went viral on social media.
Pictures of people digging up the chicken wings at the site went viral on social media.PHOTO: THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

SIBU (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - The Sarawak Customs Department dug out imported frozen chicken wings disposed on a piece of land in Jalan Teluk Engkalat near Bukit Aup here Thursday (April 6) to relocate them at the Kemuyang landfill.

Its acting director, Mr Ahmad Zainudin Drahman, said the digging out and relocation, monitored by the Sibu Veterinary Services Office, began in the morning.

Earlier, an emergency meeting was held by officials from other relevant government departments.

"This is what we are doing now for damage control," he told a press conference at the department's office in Jalan Deshon here.

Mr Ahmad Zainudin also said calcium hypochlorite and sodium hypochlorite were sprayed on the soil and the discarded chicken wings to get rid of the bacteria before relocation to the garbage disposal site.

The shipment of 81,500kg chicken wings from the Netherlands were confiscated by the Customs enforcement unit from Putrajaya on Feb 23 at the Rajang Port for not having an import permit, he said.

He said investigations are still ongoing to identify the importer of the chicken wings, estimated to be valued at RM543,756 (S$173,000) with duty estimated at RM108,751.

He said the disposal was done by the Putrajaya team, which also appointed the contractor and selected the site.

Upon hearing the news about the disposal on Tuesday, local residents went to the site to dig out the chicken wings for their own consumption and for sale.

Pictures of people at the site went viral on social media and this had raised concerns over health risks to those who had consumed the chicken wings.

A check by Bernama at the site revealed that police were still manning the area, with the works being monitored by officers from the Sibu Veterinary Services Office.

The Veterinary Services Department issued a ban on Nov 30 last year on the import of any bird from the Netherlands following the outbreak of the highly pathogenic avian influenza there.