Couple Arrested for Selling Protected Monkey Meat

JAKARTA

POLICE have arrested a couple for selling the flesh of protected monkeys in meatball soup.

The man and wife are accused of providing meat from Javan langur or silver-leaf monkeys found in Baluran National Park, East Java province, to sellers of bakso, a spicy meatball soup.

“They were arrested late in March and are now in police custody in Situbondo district,” local deputy police chief Heru Prasetyo said on Wednesday.

“After a tipoff from local people we arrested the wife with 35 kilograms of meat from about 25 langurs. We also seized one rifle and wooden sticks to kill the monkeys,” he said.

The couple had confessed to selling the money meat for six years, he added.

They could face up to five years’ jail and fines of Rp100 million (US$11,000).

Police also found monkey bones, tails and skins at the couple’s house.

Conservationist Tri Prayudi said the couple could have killed more than 500 primates and were probably not the only ones selling monkey meat as food.

“It’s not a new modus operandi in East Java because we found a similar case in 1996,” he said.

“At that time we managed to stop the crime as local clerics helped us to issue an edict saying that the monkey meat is against Islamic law,” he added.

Prayudi said monkey meat cost Rp15,000 to Rp20,000 per kilogram, less than half the price of beef or lamb.

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