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Police Arrest Turtle Traders

More Arrests Likely as Police Pursue Tougher Line with Those Dealing in Protected Turtle Species.

Bali News:
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Early on Thursday, June 27, 2003, members of Bali's Water Police conducted a raid on Madurese vessel, Wisata Bahari, anchored in the Benoa Harbor that resulted in the arrest of 5 fisherman and the rescue of 120 rare green turtles destined for the fish markets at Tanjung Benoa and Jimbaran in Bali.

The raids followed only by four days the appointment of the new Chief of the Water Police Division, AKBP Agus Sutikno. During that appointment ceremony, conducted by Bali's Chief of Police, Irjen Made Mangku Pastika, the new man in charge of patrolling the island's Coast lines and waterways was ordered to get tough on any criminality found in his precinct. A number of NGO's (non-governmental agencies) have made a series of complaints to the Government regarding the continuing trade in rare turtles openly conducted place in fish markets across Indonesia.

The five Madurese fishermen now in police custody as a result of the police raid face maximum punishments of five years in prison and fines of Rp. 100 million (approximately US$ 12,000).

Of the 120 turtles seized in the raid, 2 are being cared for by local conservation officers to serve as evidence in the coming trials, while the rest were immediately set free in the local seas.

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