Three Malaysian Airlines staff have been arrested by law enforcers for their involvement in smuggling 30 tortoises which were seized at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport in Dhaka last night.
The arrestees are deputy station manager of Malaysian Airlines, Samiur Rahman, 35, passenger service specialist Jewel Ahmed, 29, and baggage handler Mizanur Rahman, 30.
All three were fined Tk 1 lakh each by a mobile court at the airport while two of them -- Jewel Ahmed and Mizanur Rahman – were also sentenced to one year of imprisonment for their involvement in the crime, reports the Bangla daily Prothom Alo.
The consignment of tortoises was seized at Departure Belt No.4 at the airport around 6:00pm in the evening yesterday, inside three trolley bags with Malaysian Airlines tags, Senior Deputy Superintendent of Police of Armed Police Battalion (APBn) Alamgir told Bangla daily Prothom Alo.
Contacted, Malaysian Airlines authorities gave the names of three passengers en route to Kuala Lumpur—Rafikul Islam, Shaheen Alam, and SalekMondol—to APBn, who were found not to be involved with the smuggling after interrogation and checking video footages. Further investigation found that the three Malaysian Airlines officials were involved in the smuggling along with Civil Aviation scan operator Hasan Parvez who managed to escape, the law enforcement official added.
Civil Aviation authorities have been instructed to take necessary action against Hasan Parvez, he added.
The tortoises were handed over to Ashim Mallick, inspector of Wildlife Crime Control Unit (WCCU) at Forest Department who informed that the tortoises, which were later released at Bangabandhu Safari Park in Gazipur, weigh 85 kilograms and are worth around Tk 10.5 lakh.