Mon, 08 Nov 1999

Snake smuggling aborted

SURABAYA: Customs and quarantine officers at Juanda airport here foiled an attempt to smuggle hundreds of snakes to Malaysia on Saturday.

A quarantine staff member, Soeparto, told Antara that he found the snakes inside 17 boxes of papers about to be sent to Kuala Lumpur via Jakarta. Weighing 20 kilograms, each box contained an average of 15 snakes.

Documents attached by the sender, identified only as Hendro, said the boxes contained mangoes.

"We decided to open some of the boxes after we smelled something putrid like fish," Suparto said.

The customs office will question Hendro, who was in Jakarta when the smuggling attempt was made, on Monday.

One of Hendro's assistants, Wijaya, said he knew nothing about the content of the boxes, adding that he was only ordered to pay the delivery expense.

But he acknowledged that he had exported fish twice to Malaysia. Hendro also trades fish. (amd)