INDONESIA: Indonesian police on Monday said they are investigating an advertisement offering two babies for sale at $1,000 each after it was spotted on the popular auction and shopping website Tokobagus.com.
"We are still investigating the existence of the online advertisement," Jakarta police spokesman Rikwanto told reporters.
"We have asked Tokobagus how the advertisement came to be posted, for how long, and whether any transaction was made," he added.
The National Commission for Child Protection lodged a police report last week after spotting the posting, its chairman Arist Merdeka Sirait told AFP.
"There was a photo of a baby and a telephone number. We called the advertiser and he said he wanted to sell two 18-month-olds, a boy and a girl, for Rp 10 million ($1,000) each," Sirait said.
"We were negotiating, talking about birth certificates when he suddenly hanged up. We tried contacting him again but failed," he added.
"This seems to be a new modus operandi by baby-selling syndicates. We are very concerned and must stop this crime against humanity," Sirait said, adding that human-traffickers could be jailed from 15 to 20 years.
Tokobagus posted an apology on Twitter, saying the advertisement was a result of "pure human error and was unintentional" and had been removed.
Indonesians have been using local auction and shopping sites to sell anything from cars and jewellery to body organs such as kidneys, exploiting a loophole in local laws.
Hundreds of advertisements have appeared on Indonesian personal advertising websites offering kidneys for as little as 50 million rupiah each. (AFP)
Man avoids jail for 23 years
US: A man who evaded authorities for 23 years on charges he unlawfully imported more than $10 million worth of caviar into the United States was spared jail time at his sentencing on Monday.
Instead, a judge in U.S. District Court in Manhattan imposed a punishment of time already served on Isidoro "Mario" Garbarino, 69, who has been in custody since September 10.
An Italian national, Garbarino was also fined $10,000 and will likely be deported to Italy.
Garbarino was indicted in 1987. But while free on bail he fled to Italy in 1989 and remained a fugitive, mainly in South America, until he was captured in September 2012 by U.S. marshals at an airport in Panama.
In November, Garbarino, who owns Aquamar Gourmet Imports Inc., pleaded guilty to falsely classifying imported goods and making false statements and agreed to pay $3 million in restitution.
The former caviar importer was charged with smuggling more than 100,000 pounds of Russian and Iranian caviar into the United States between 1984 and 1987, in part to avoid tariffs. His company supplied the fish roe to gourmet stores such as Zabar's in New York as well as major air and cruise lines, prosecutors said.
At his sentencing before U.S. District Judge Kevin Duffy, Garbarino fought back tears as he apologized.
"I'm sorry," said Garbarino. "There are no words in the vocabulary for me." (REUTERS)
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