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A Deadly Shell Game

Police Arrest Two Men Smuggling Turtle Meat to Local Restaurants.

(9/11/2009) Bali arrested a local sea captain and a driver on Thursday, September 3, 2009, as they drove down a main highway in Bali carrying the butchered remains of eight large sea turtles comprising 140 kilograms of meat.

Captain Madok and driver Putu Satriawan had reportedly tried to camouflage their illicit trade in protected turtles by hiding the their contraband under layers of dead fish.

Press reports say the two men confessed to smuggling the turtles from Speken on the island of Madura and bringing them by local boat to the port of Kampung Baru in Buleleng, North Bali. The meat had been reportedly ordered by a number of restaurants in Denpasar.

The increasingly rare sea turtles can fetch as much as Rp. 4 million (US$400) each for even one small specimen.

The Captain and the driver now face prosecution under a 1990 law that provides for a maximum sentence of 5 years in prison and fines of Rp. 100 million (US$10,000).