Police have arrested six men, five locals and an illegal immigrant, in connection with the brutal killing of a pygmy elephant whose carcass was found in Sungai Udin, Dumpas near Tawau last week.
Tawau district police chief ACP Peter Umbuas said the suspects, aged between 48 and 68 years, were arrested between 12.20am and noon today in a raid carried out under ‘Ops Bersapadu Khazanah’.
“Acting on a tip-off, a police team arrested a man around 12.20am at Felda Umas 4, suspected of being involved in the elephant shooting case.
“Following the first arrest, three more raids were carried out at Felda Umas which led to the arrest of three men, while in a raid this afternoon two more were arrested in Felda Umas and Ladang Dumpas,” he told a press conference in Tawau today, which was also attended by Tawau Wildlife Department (JHL) officer, Sailun Aris.
"Of the six men, two were responsible for shooting the elephant while four others abetted. The illegal immigrant is suspected of storing the firearms while a smallholder concealed the elephant tusks,” he said.
Peter said in the operation police seized a licensed pump gun, homemade air gun, three homemade shotguns (bakakuk), 53 bullet shell casing, 58 rounds of ammunition, a licence book for gun ownership and ammunition and a Vivo mobile phone.
“It is believed that the pump gun and bakakuk were used to shoot the elephant,” he said, adding that all the suspects would be remanded tomorrow and the case was being investigated under Section 8 (a) of the Firearms Act 1960, Section 25 (1) of the Wildlife Conservation Enactment 1997 and Section 6 (1) (c) of the Immigration Act 1963.
Regarding the motive in shooting the animal, Peter said it was a two-in-one motive.
According to the investigation, the incident on Sept 23 at about 9 am in the Sungai Udin reserve area was believed to have been carried out by two workers tasked to monitor animals encroachment at the plantation and besides killing the elephant they sawed off and took the animal’s ivory tusks, he said.
Meanwhile, Peter said the informant, a civilian, would receive a RM10,000 reward from the Wildlife Department as promised.