By Kharishar Kahfi, The Jakarta Post
Investigators from the Environment and Forestry Ministry have arrested three individuals on suspicion of illegal online trading in ivory and other products made from elephants and other endangered animals.
The three suspects, identified by their initials OF, 38, CK, 44, and MHF, 31, were arrested on Sunday at three separate locations in Pati, Central Java.
The trio allegedly sold jewelry and other accessories like cigarette holders through three separate Facebook accounts.
“We suspect the three individuals of actively selling tobacco pipes [and other products] made from elephant tusks to all regions in Indonesia,” the ministry’s forest preservation director Sustyo Iriyono said in a statement on Monday.
Investigators seized an elephant tusk, several ivory products, deer antlers and sun bear claws during the arrest.
The three are suspected of violating Law No. 5/1990 on natural resources and environmental conservation, which carries a maximum punishment of five years in prison and a fine of Rp 100 million (US$7,028).
The ministry’s law enforcement director general, Rasio Ridho Sani, said investigators will look into the possible involvement of other parties, whether inside or outside the country, in the case.
“This crime of illegal use of elephant tusks correlate with the high number of elephant deaths from poaching both inside and outside the country, which can lead to the extinction of the species. This is a transnational crime,” he said.