Two individuals from Simalungun Regency, North Sumatra, have been sentenced to 18 months in prison for engaging in the illegal trade of pangolin scales. The individuals, Octario Sitio and Bernardo Gultom, sold 1.2 kg of pangolin scales through social media platforms.
Octario Sitio and Bernardo Gultom were arrested on April 13, 2023, and have been proven guilty of violating the Republic of Indonesia Law No. 5 of 1990 on the Protection of Living Natural Resources and Their Ecosystems. In addition to this, they also violated Article 55 Paragraph (1) 1 of the Criminal Code.
The defendants have been sentenced to 1 year and 6 months in prison each, along with a fine of 1 million rupees ($69). The court proceedings will continue on October 10, 2023, for the defense or plea of the defendants.
The case began when Octario Sitio invited Bernardo Gultom to find pangolins, a protected species. They found the pangolin scales in the village of Jalan Ek Nauli in Simalungun Regency, where they encountered three unidentified individuals carrying plastic bags containing the scales.
The two defendants purchased the pangolin scales for 750,000 rupees ($52), but only paid 400,000 rupees ($28) upfront. They planned to pay the remaining amount after selling the scales. However, the authorities disguised as potential buyers and arrested them before the transaction could take place. Three plastic bags containing 1.2 kg of pangolin scales were seized as evidence.
Q: What is the punishment for selling pangolin scales?
A: Selling pangolin scales is a criminal offense in Indonesia. The defendants in this case have been sentenced to 1 year and 6 months in prison, along with a fine of 1 million rupees ($69).
Q: Why are pangolins protected?
A: Pangolins are protected because they are an endangered species. They are often victims of illegal wildlife trafficking due to the high demand for their scales and meat.
Q: How can we help protect pangolins?
A: We can help protect pangolins by raising awareness about the importance of their conservation and refraining from buying or selling pangolin products. Supporting organizations and initiatives focused on pangolin conservation can also make a difference.