Malaysia Customs nets $25.7m worth of smuggled pangolin scales

Pangolin scales are banned from being traded in most countries.
Pangolin scales are banned from being traded in most countries.PHOTO: AFP

KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysian authorities have confiscated a record haul of pangolin scales worth RM78 million (S$25.7 million) that was being smuggled in through the country's main port, Port Klang, on Tuesday (March 31).

The scales were hidden in large bags in a container and were declared as cashew nuts, the Malaysian Royal Customs Department said in a statement on Wednesday.

"The raid netted the biggest haul this year achieved by Customs involving pangolin scales with estimated value of RM78 million," the department said in a statement.

Pangolin scales are banned from being traded in most countries. The long-tailed pangolin, a small mammal, is also called the scaly anteater.

It is the world's most heavily trafficked mammal, with its scales used in traditional medicine and its meat bought on the black market.

A study by the South China Agricultural University in January suggested that the current strain of coronavirus could have been spread from a pangolin to a human, reported the official Xinhua news agency.