It seems viral footage depicting Chinese workers skinning a wild crocodile and cooking its meat in soup is not sufficient evidence to charge them for the killing of the protected animal.
Recently, photos and videos surfaced from a nickel smelter in Southeast Sulawesi’s Konawe regency, showing five foreign workers having captured the poor croc on Aug. 25. The tied up reptile, which was reportedly still alive but weak when caught, was further degraded when the workers placed a helmet and sunglasses on its head.
After the footage surfaced online, the region’s Natural Resources Conservation Center (BKSDA) and the Environment and Forestry Ministry (KLHK) inspected the smelter and found the croc’s bones at the site.
Despite all of that, authorities have not recommended criminal charges against the workers as of this article’s publication, citing insufficient evidence incriminating them. None of the workers have reportedly been questioned.
“If the investigation is complete and there is enough evidence, then we will forward the investigation to law enforcement,” Southeast Sulawesi BKSDA Chief Sakrianto Djawie said yesterday.
Should the case proceed and the workers are formally charged, they may each face up to five years in prison for killing protected wildlife.