Dutch national in Bali prosecuted for involvement in international illegal wildlife trade network

The skeleton of a sea turtle. Photo: Turtle Time Inc.
The skeleton of a sea turtle. Photo: Turtle Time Inc.

Police in Bali said they have handed evidence of illegal wildlife trade involving a Dutch national over to the Denpasar District Attorney earlier today after the case was brought to their attention in 2016. 

“Our investigation has been going on for a while, since … 2016, and today we just handed over the evidence and the suspect to the public prosecutor here in Bali,” Police Chief Commissioner Adi Karya Tobing from the Criminal Investigation Agency (Bareskrim) told reporters. 

As reported by Kumparan, a Dutch national, identified by his initials ER, was found to have been involved in illegal wildlife trade after Dutch authorities intercepted a container in the Netherlands back in 2016. 

The container reportedly contained pieces of protected coral reef  that was transported without legal documentation. It led Dutch authorities to expand their investigation leading them to other illegal items including snake skin, crocodile skulls, whale bones and the skeleton of a sea turtle. 

Adi said some of the items originated from Indonesia and the police investigation led them to ER. 

“The suspect has been living for a long time in Indonesia, and he has children with an Indonesian wife. He rented a place and conducted this business. This is a crime in both Indonesia and the Netherlands, so both our governments decided to work together to cut off this international network,” Adi said, as quoted by Kumparan. 

ER reportedly told authorities that he’s been sending handicraft items made from protected species through ocean freight shipping to the Netherlands since 2013 . He also said that he acquired those items from three different art shops in Bali. 

According to Adi, the owners of these art shops are also being investigated for their involvement in the trade. 

The police chief added that these illegal items were sold for hefty prices abroad, between IDR 50 to 80 million (USD 3,508 to 5,614) each, but were purchased for only around IDR 1 million (USD 70) each in Indonesia. 

Under Indonesia’s 1990 Conservation Law, ER could face a maximum of five year’s imprisonment and a fine of IDR 100 million (USD 7,017).

Read more news and updates from Bali here.

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