Pangolin scales are sought after in Asian countries for use in traditional remedies. Photo: iStock.

A pair of Chinese nationals were arrested in Indonesia after they were caught trying to smuggle pangolin scales through an airport.

The two were arrested at the Kuala Namu Airport in Deli Serdang in northern Sumatra on April 20, The Jakarta Post reported. According to the Environment and Forestry Ministry security and law enforcement center (Gakkum), the two were arrested when they were about to depart and fly to Guangzhou, China.

Haluanto, an official with Gakkum, said they had hidden scales of 44 pangolins inside wallets, pockets, pillows, bags, envelopes and socks.

The two suspects were only identified as PF, 33, and XY, 28. They are currently being detained by the North Sumatra Police for interrogation.

Gakkum is coordinating with the North Sumatra police, plus the Chinese consulate in Medan on the case.

The two Chinese citizens have been charged with violating articles 21 and 40 of Law No.5/1990 on the ecosystem and natural resource conservation.

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