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Jakarta - Four Chinese nationals have been arrested in Indonesia for trying to smuggle parts of endangered hornbills and pangolins, likely for use in traditional medicine, an official said Monday.
Customs officers detained the men at Jakarta's international airport Friday with the animal parts in their luggage, said forestry ministry conservation director-general Darori Wonidipuro.
“They were caught with 248 hornbill beaks and 189 skins from pangolins. After questioning the men, we believe the animal parts would have been used in Chinese medicine,” Wonidipuro told AFP.
Wonidipuro said the hornbill and pangolin parts were from Indonesian Borneo, where poaching is poorly controlled and rampant deforestation has put pressure on several endangered species.
Conservationists say China's demand for endangered animals for medicinal purposes, food and ornaments has driven a surge in poaching in Asia and Africa.
Indonesian authorities in July found 85 pangolins - also known as scaly anteaters - at a bus station in northern Sumatra. Most were alive despite having been stuffed into sacks.
The hornbill's rounded beaks and pangolin scales are believed to have medicinal qualities in China, where pangolin meat is also considered a delicacy. - Sapa-AFP