HIMALAYAN NEWS SERVICE
KATHMANDU: Sleuths of the Metropolitan Police Crime Division nabbed five persons with a huge amount of China-bound pangolin scales from Srijana Nagar, Bhaktapur, yesterday.
The detainees have been identified as Gopichan Bagadiya, 30, Rambir Bagadiya, 38, Ramdhari, 42, Indal Bagadiya, 25, and Ramdhari Bagadiya, 32, of Hariyana, India.
They are said to be members of an extended family.
the Metropolitan Police Crime Division rounded them up from a tent on a public land in Bhaktapur.
The poachers must have killed more than 45 pangolins to collect the seized amount of scales, investigators said.
They were living in the tent for the past 10 days waiting for an opportune time to push the wild animal body parts into China via the Tatopani Customs Point, Sindhupalchowk.
According to preliminary investigation, they had sneaked into Nepal through the Birgunj transit.
“The smugglers were long involved in collecting pangolin scales from both India and Nepal. During interrogation, they revealed that they were trying to sell the body parts for Rs 25,600 per kg,” the investigator informed based on the statement they have recorded.
Pangolin scales are sold at $2,500 per kg in the international market.
Smugglers come to Nepal and visit various parts of the country to collect pangolin scales before smuggling it into China through international racketeers.
Pangolin scales are in high demand in Asian markets as they are used in manufacturing bulletproof jackets and traditional medicines, a police source said.
In China many believe that pangolin scales have medicinal qualities.
Chinese people believe that pangolin scales can heal swelling, increase blood circulation and help mothers produce milk.
Pangolin (Manis pantadactyla) is also known as scaly anteater or trenggiling and is a protected wildlife species in Nepal.
The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species has categorised the animal in Appendix II, which includes species that are not yet threatened, but could become endangered if trade is not controlled.
Anyone involved in the trade of the conserved species like pangolins could be slapped with a fine of up to Rs 100,000 and five-15 years jail term as provisioned in the National Parks and Wildlife Conservation Act-1973.