Mon, 22 May 2000

Woman charged for smuggling snakes

TANGERANG (JP): Tangerang District Court judges ordered the Tangerang Prosecutor's Office on Saturday to release Yuliana binti Hasan, 30, a defendant in a November 1999 snake smuggling attempt, as her detention period is over.

Presiding judge Haogoaro Harefa, however, said that the release of the defendant did not nullify her alleged wrongdoing.

"The court will announce the verdict on the defendant on May 29," Harefa said in the hearing on Saturday.

It is alleged that Yuliana attempted to smuggle 36 boxes of cobras from Soekarno-Hatta International Airport on Nov 24 last year. The attempt was uncovered by custom and excise officers.

The cargo was labeled as fresh crabs and several of its travel documents were forged.

The total value of the snakes was not mentioned, but cobras sell well in China as well as other Asian countries. Prices can reach the equivalent of Rp 150,000 per kilogram.

Snakes in Indonesia are sold at between Rp 5,000 and Rp 10,000, depending on their size.

Cobras are highly prized abroad, for their meat and skin and for their poison, which his used as a medicine.

The snake is a protected species here and its export and trade are forbidden under the Law No. 5/1990 on Natural Resources and Ecosystem Conservation and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (Cites). (41/edt)