"Lizard King" Wild Life Smuggler jailed
Anson Wong, a Wild Life smuggler was convicted again for his activities and slapped with a five-year jail term after an appeal filed by the Attorney-General’s Chambers for a heavier sentence against him. Anson was made infamous in the book “The Lizard King” by Bryan Christy.
The court heard that Anson had been cruel to the animals he intended to export. Deputy public prosecutor Mohd Dusuki Mokhtar told the court that 95 boa constrictors were all forcibly stuffed inside a bag.
The appeal was filed by the Attorney-General’s Chambers on Sept 8 following the disappointment expressed by various conservation groups with the sentence. They said Malaysia should show its earnestness in tackling wildlife trafficking.
Wong, 52, whose full name is Wong Keng Liang, was caught at the KL International Airport on Aug 26 trying to smuggle the boa constrictors to Jakarta.
He was sentenced to six months’ jail and fined RM190,000 on Sept 6 by the Sepang Sessions Court for smuggling the snakes without a permit.
Following an outcry by the Malaysian public, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) will also cooperate with the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry following the implementation of the Wildlife Conservation Act 2010.
Minister Datuk Seri Douglas Uggah Embas said under the Act passed by Parliament recently and expected to come into effect by year-end, the ministry would introduce integrity programmes for officers under its enforcement agencies.
”As we prepare to implement the Act, we are looking into all the enforcement agencies under us,” he said.
”Some of the agencies have weaknesses making the law not useful,” he admitted.
”MACC will come into the picture as part of our integrity programme,” he said.
On the Act, Douglas Uggah said the sentences would be more deterrent.
”Convicted poachers are staring at a fine as high as RM500,000 with certain cases being given mandatory imprisonment,” he said, hoping the new Act with more bite would deter poachers.
The ministry’s Department of Wildlife and National Parks (Perhilitan) had come under public scrutiny recently after allegations of corruption among its enforcement officers following the arrest of wildlife trader Anson Wong.
On reports that illegal wildlife traders in Asean nations, including Malaysia, are making a whopping US$30bil (RM90bil) in black money from the poaching and smuggling of endangered wildlife and animal parts in South-East Asia,
Douglas Uggah questioned the statistics.
”If it’s illegal, how can the figure be verified?” he asked. He also questioned the source of the statement. ”If it comes from us, we should be questioned.”
The figure was compiled by regional and international wildlife agencies and was discussed among wildlife enforcement agencies of Asean member countries, the US-AID, European Commission and Asean Centre for Biodiversity (ACB) in Thailand.