JAKARTA POST (THE JAKARTA POST/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - The Indonesian National Police's Special Crimes Directorate has foiled an attempt to illegally export lobster eggs worth billions of rupiah to Singapore via Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in Cengkareng, Banten.
"We confiscated 208,756 lobster eggs inside eight suitcases," directorate chief Brigadier General Purwadi Arianto was quoted as saying by tribunnews.com on Sunday.
Had the smuggling attempt been successful, state losses could have reached Rp 31.3 billion (S$3.2 million), Purwadi said, adding that the police have questioned two people in relation to the case.
The two were identified only as AM and WHY.
Police said AM was attempting to board a Garuda Indonesia flight to Singapore carrying 169,136 lobster eggs in six suitcases, while WHY took 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, they suspect 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.
Besides lobster eggs, the police also confiscated one passport, two mobile phones, Rp 7.1 million and S$525 in cash, boarding passes and luggage claim tags.
AM is being charged with violating laws on fisheries and on quarantine, animals and plants, as well as violating the Criminal Code.
The police in cooperation with other agencies - including customs, aviation security, the Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Ministry's National Fish Quarantine, Quality Control and Fishery Product Safety Agency - have released the lobster eggs on Carita Beach in Banten, keeping only 256 as evidence.