Because there is a high demand for these scales, which are mistakenly thought to have medicinal properties in Asia, they are worth a lot of money. The poachers, who had eaten the meat of the pangolins they killed, planned to sell the scales for 3.2 million Indonesian rupiah per kilogram (equivalent to $228 USD). They had in their possession 9.45 kilograms of pangolin scales. The men were waiting for their buyer to arrive when they were caught.
The buyer — who is believed to be part of a larger network that smuggles pangolin parts from West Borneo to Vietnam and China to be sold — is still at large.