Laws and Regulations

Eco fines net Selangor RM1.1m

Posted on March 20, 2012. Filed under: Laws and Regulations |

-BERNAMA-

SHAH ALAM, March 20 — Selangor pocketed RM1.12 million in fines from 194 prosecutions of environmental offences last year, state executive councillor Elizabeth Wong was reported as saying by Bernama Online today.

Wong, who holds the state tourism, consumer affairs and environment portfolio, revealed that of the cases prosecuted, 118 were for air pollution, 28 pertained to water pollution, while open burning and scheduled waste disposals contributed 13 and seven incidents, respectively.

But she added not all the cases were pursued to the end.

“Several cases could not proceed due to lack of evidence and incomplete chemical analysis,” Wong said in today’s session of the state assembly.

She also revealed that a number of cases had been summarily dismissed by the Attorney-General’s Chambers, for which she said no reasons were given.

“In addition, there were also cases where the offences and offenders were clear but it took four to five years to be brought to court,” Wong said.

Seri Setia assemblyman Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad had earlier asked Wong for a list of environmental cases in the state that were being prosecuted.

 

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Separate waste from September

Posted on December 19, 2011. Filed under: Laws and Regulations, Waste |

– Bernama

PUTRAJAYA: Households will start segregating their waste in stages beginning September, said Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk Seri Chor Chee Heung.

This is in line with the enforcement of the Solid Waste and Public Cleaning Act, and the privatisation of solid waste management and public cleaning work.

He said this would initially be implemented in cities and towns like Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya and Alor Setar, where the concessionaire would carry out recycled waste collection on a weekly basis.

“At the same time, we will encourage recycling.

“When the time comes, say in two or three years when there is sufficient awareness among the society on the need to segregate their household waste, we will make this compulsory and those not adhering to it will be fined,” he told reporters after opening the National Recycling Day here yesterday.

He said such a practice could see a reduction of up to 40% in the 25,000 tonnes of waste generated daily.

Earlier in his speech, Chor said only eight of the 166 waste disposal sites in the country had managed to achieve a “sanitary” status, adding that the rest could be harmful to the environment.

He said these sites had also become hotspots for the spread of vector-borne diseases besides being a threat to public health.

“We should adopt a responsible attitude and play our role in tackling solid waste disposal problems by practising the 3R concept of reduce, reuse and recycle,” he said.

Chor also launched a toll-free line, 1-800-88-7472 (SISA), which would allow consumers in the peninsula, except for those in Selangor, Perak and Penang, to report waste disposal issues.

He also launched the RoadTour 1Malaysia, in collaboration with Radio Television Malaysia (RTM), to promote recycling for a week from yesterday.

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Penang: Litterbugs face RM250 fine come Feb 1

Posted on December 27, 2010. Filed under: Laws and Regulations |

-The Sun-

Litterbugs beware as you may be slapped with a RM250 fine if you are caught littering in public places.

Penang Island Municipal Council’s (MPPP) financial management sub-committee alternate chairman Tan Hun Wooi said the summons for littering was previously RM50 and only those who throw large items like furniture are fined RM250.

“Now, we want to standardise everything so anyone caught littering, even it’s a piece of tissue or a cigarette butt, will be fined RM250,” he said.

The new summons rate will be effective Feb 1.

Tan also said there will not be any discount for those issued with this summons. “They will have to pay the full sum of RM250.”

The increase in summons will hopefully be more effective in deterring people from littering, he told a press conference after a full council meeting at the City Hall today.

On an unrelated issue, Tan said the council had to reject an application by Chew Jetty for an additional allocation of RM61,832.24.

“The council had earlier granted a special allocation of RM268,0000 to Chew Jetty for upgrading and restorating works on Chew Jetty so we are unable to allocate more funds,” he said.

The council also decided to call for an open tender for the commercial space consisting of 19 units at the council’s multi-storey carpark situated at Lebuh Pantai and Lebuh Victoria.

Those who submit their tenders for the project will need to submit a conceptual plan for the use of the commercial space and the rental for the space is RM10,000 each month.

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Judges warm up to green issues

Posted on November 22, 2010. Filed under: Environmental Policy, Laws and Regulations |

-The Sun-by Azrina Abdullah

MUCH has been said in my column and letters to the editor about the need for stronger enforcement and laws to shed Malaysia’s image as an illegal wildlife trade hub. The focus has been on enforcement. And to the government’s credit, laws have been improved and enforced, in addition to investigations by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission of a senior staff of the Wildlife and National Parks Department (Perhilitan).

However, many tend to forget that judges play an essential role in the efforts to reduce wildlife trafficking. It is only in recent years that the judiciary was recognised as a key agent in the efforts to protect wildlife in Southeast Asia. Much of this is credited to the Asean Wildlife Enforcement Network (WEN) which was established in 2005 by the 10 countries in the region to tackle wildlife trafficking. This is a business worth billions of dollars with little risk of getting caught, and if you do get caught, you’ll be out of the courthouse within minutes after paying a fine equal to a pupil’s daily lunch money.

Asean took this matter seriously and had its first meeting in Bangkok in 2006. After much discussions about the role of customs, police and wildlife departments in WEN, someone piped up “So what if we arrest the offender, have a strong case but the judge does not treat wildlife trafficking as a serious crime?” The room fell silent for a second, then the penny dropped. Of course! All that seizures, arrests and investigations will come to nought if the judiciary is not included as part of WEN’s efforts to reduce wildlife trafficking.

A few months after the meeting, John Webb and I sat together to figure out how we could train judges and prosecutors on wildlife matters. John, the assistant chief for the Environmental Crimes Section of the US Department of Justice, who looks more like John Wayne than the sleek looking lawyers in Law and Order, agreed that we needed to first get the highest level of the judiciary to buy into the training to ensure that the rest follow suit. We succeeded in getting the co-operation of several Asean chief justices on training on condition that we called it “workshop” because “judges know everything”.

So far, nearly 10 of these workshops have been held in the region, including Malaysia, and it is gratifying to know that some effect has taken place in our neighbouring countries with a module on wildlife trade law included in the judges in-house training, Green Benches (or environmental courts) placing priority on wildlife cases when there was not much interest before, and the workshop module which John and I developed was adapted for a similar training of the judiciary in Africa.

In Peninsular Malaysia, data from Perhilitan show that last year there was an increase in wildlife cases heard in court and offenders penalised compared to previous years. But the sentences seldom reflect the seriousness of wildlife trafficking. The workshops such as the ones conducted under Asean-WEN are essential for judges to enhance their knowledge and understanding of issues on wildlife management.

As much as judges feel they know everything (allegedly), wildlife cases continue to be treated as “fluffy”, not just in Malaysia but in the region, due to judges’ lack of understanding on how wildlife trafficking can adversely impact our environmental wellbeing. However, the sentences handed down recently by the High Court on wildlife smugglers is sending a positive message across the world that Malaysia’s judiciary is taking a bold step towards clamping down wildlife trafficking.

This must continue and wildlife matters should be included as part of a judge’s training or promotion, just as what the Asean-WEN workshop had achieved in the Philippines. As more of our species face extinction, the judiciary must draw the line that pillaging Malaysia’s precious wildlife will not to be tolerated and this should be reflected in the sentencing.


Azrina Abdullah
is conducting research on the links between indigenous groups and wildlife trade. She was regional director of Traffic, an NGO which monitors the global wildlife trade. Comments: letters@thesundaily.com

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Masidi: Make environ-friendly polystyrene packs

Posted on October 20, 2010. Filed under: Laws and Regulations, Waste |

-Daily Express-

Kota Kinabalu: Manufacturers have been urged to seriously look into ways to produce environment-friendly polystyrene packs that will not affect the ozone layer when these packs are burnt as waste.

Making the call, Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun said there is a need for them to take holistic views on the whole issue in terms of making the packs safe and healthy for end users.

“Business-wise, it is economic sense for the manufacturers to continue producing the polystyrene packs but by the same token, I think they also need to look into a more responsible way to make the substance safe for the public’s health.

“This is because even plastic bags can be made into bio-degradable products and I am sure even a ‘tapau’ polystyrene pack can be produced in the same way. Actually it is just an issue of cost (of producing environmentally safe polystyrene packs),” he said.

Masidi said this in a press conference after launching a ‘Ozone Layer Protection: Management and High level of Compliance’ clean air campaign in conjunction with the commemoration of International Ozone Day 2010 here Tuesday.

The Department of Environment (DOE) organised the event that provided a one-day free inspection of vehicle exhaust pipes and air-conditioning to check on whether the owners use the right type of cooling gas.

Masidi was commenting on whether his ministry would consider enacting a law that regulates the use of polystyrene food packs in Sabah.

Sabah director, Abdul Razak Hj. Abdul Manap was also present.

“Again I hope everybody including the stakeholders, end-users and manufacturers would continue to have a serious view on producing and using only environmentally safe products. And perhaps, it is a high time for us to produce and use such products in a healthy way.

Actually, it is a simpleÉwhether you want our future generations to be healthy or not,” Masidi said.

Nonetheless, he said, ultimately, the most effective way to kick the habit of using the polystyrene packs is to educate the people especially the young at schools in the hopes that they would tell their parents not to pack their food in polystyrene-based packs.

“I think we need to educate the public at large because for rural residents, it is the most convenient way to pack their food using polystyrene packs and also the people do not realise the danger that comes with it,” Masidi said.

On the current ‘No Plastic Bags on Monday’ campaign, he said, the public’s response has been good.

“Actually if we realise the benefit of not using plastic bags, I believe we do not need to have laws or regulations enacted to enforce this because it would depend on us, what we want to leave for our future generations.

“If we want our future generations to be healthy, then I reckon automatically, we will make sure our daily habits that harm the environment including use of plastic bags is controlled in a nice way.

“TrueÉit is difficult to kick the habit that has been a practice all your lives. But I do hope that whatever the excuses, we can change the habit slowly to healthy ones. Even almost all European countries are not using plastic now and they are turning to papers that are easily degradable.

I think we should do the same thing here,” Masidi said.

Earlier, he said public must have acknowledge that Ozone Depleting Substances (ODS) like black smoke from vehicles, air-conditioning used in cars and inside homes, Halon gas in lighters and polystyrene-based packs that emit gases are harmful to the ozone layer.

Presently, he said there is no law that regulates production of ODS to care for public health.

He said end users also need to make sure the products they buy and use are ozone-friendly and do not contain CFC (Chlorofluorocarbon) gas that can deplete the ozone layer.

Last year, Masidi said Malaysia announced that the nation has successfully reduced the use of CFC by 181 per cent above the average use from 1995 to 1997.

He added that such achievement was by far above the target compliance of 100 per cent reduction set on Jan 1 this year.

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Anson to lose wildlife after withdrawal of permits

Posted on October 6, 2010. Filed under: Laws and Regulations |

-The Star- GEORGE TOWN: The state Wildlife and National Parks Depart­ment will seize all wildlife under the care of convicted wildlife smuggler Anson Wong and his wife.

Its director Jamalun Nasir Ibrahim said all permits and business licences issued to Wong and his wife Cheah Bing Shee had been revoked.

He added that all wildlife species in their possession under existing and expired licences and permits would also be seized.

“The permits revoked include the special one issued that allowed Wong to keep two Bengal tigers and a crocodile,” he said here yesterday.

It was reported that the two endangered Bengal tigers, allegedly belonging to Wong, were previously kept at the Bukit Jambul Hibiscus, Orchids and Reptile Farm but have been moved to a private location in Teluk Bahang.

It is learnt that the department is waiting for clearance from headquarters before it launches a special operation to seize the animals.

“These animals are still being kept at a farm in Teluk Bahang. Our headquarters is looking for a suitable location to keep them after the seizure,” he said in an interview at his office in Komtar here on Monday.

Wong was arrested at the KL International Airport on Aug 28 for trying to smuggle out 95 boa constrictors, two rhinoceros vipers and a Mata Mata turtle without a permit from Penang to Jakarta.

On his new post, Jamalun said he knew he was in a hot seat and had a tough task ahead, especially after the Anson Wong incident.

Jamalun, who took over from Noor Alif Wira Osman, who has been transferred to the headquarters effective Sept 30, said he would find ways to improve any shortcomings in existing application procedures.

“I will also monitor the application of wildlife shipments, for import or export, personally,” he added.

Jamalun, who served as the state department’s deputy director from 1991 to 1994, felt it was unfair for the department to take the blame for the smuggling incident.

He said this was because Wong had not declared his shipments before his arrest at the KLIA.

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Constricted by boas – the fall of Anson Wong?

Posted on September 9, 2010. Filed under: Bio-diversity, Laws and Regulations |

-Free Malaysia Today-

By Hilary Chiew

COMMENT “I don’t want to go to jail again.” — Those were the words uttered by Anson Wong slightly over a year ago to me.

I was confident that he said that with full knowledge that he is untouchable in Southeast Asia – one of the regions which had become a safe playground for the flamboyant wildlife trafficker.

There is an undoubted air of cockiness in Wong. His underlying message was: Catch me if you can!

From his Toshiba laptop, he nonchalantly showed photographs of him holding a Malagasy ploughshare tortoise purportedly in a market in the neighbouring Zanzibar island off Tanzania. He claimed that he was on holiday there, and declared that he has remained clean since returning from the United States sometime in 2004.

Now, what are the chances of a person who has been convicted of running a wildlife smuggling ring that specialises in rare reptiles like the endangered ploughshare tortoise taking a holiday in Zanzibar and stumbling upon the very same species far away from its native habitat?

The ploughshare – Astrochelys yniphora or Angonoka in Malagasy – is the largest of Madagascar’s tortoises with adults reaching about 450cm in length. It is thought to number less than 500 adults in the wild and the entire wild population is found within the Baly Bay National Park, leading it to be classified as critically endangered by the World Conservation Union and listed on Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites).

Baly Bay is an extremely poor region and traffickers pay local people to find the animals. However, the real problem lies with the buyers and the collectors who encourage the illegal trade in endangered animals with no thought for the conservation of the species.

The ploughshare is a much coveted collectors’ item so much so that the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust captive breeding facility in Madagascar has now and then been hit by several thefts of the reptile.

In that interview with Wong, he “shared” an interesting inside story – that the nouveau riche of Chinese were eating the ploughshare. He finds it disgusting that the rare creature should end up in the cooking pot. He also revealed that he saw these tortoises in Bangkok, a place that he frequently visited.

He offered to provide inside information of the trade if I was interested to investigate.

Stroke of bad luck, for Wong

Then, a fortnight ago, by a stroke of sheer luck (good or bad, depending on which side you are on), his luggage broke on the conveyor belt as he was transiting KLIA for Jakarta to personally deliver the consignment to his client, who, according to him, would like to receive the consignment before Hari Raya.

In the bag were 95 Boa constrictors, two Rhinoceros vipers and a mata-mata turtle.

For that, he was jailed six months and fined RM190,000 (RM2,000 for each snake) under the International Trade in Endangered Species Act 2007 (also known as the Cites Act) that provide for a maximum fine of RM1 million and a jail term of up to seven years.

The sentence has now come under heavy criticisms notwithstanding the fact that Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Douglas Uggah Embas has promised to appeal against the lenient treatment.

If I were the judge, I would ask Wong how much is the client paying for a snake and then I would decide how much I would fine him. Of course, the judge would be constricted, pun intended, by the RM1 million ceiling according to the Cites Act.

Do the maths and you will arrive at the figure of RM10,526.30 per snake if Wong was handed the maximum fine instead of the RM2,000 that he had been ordered to pay for each snake. The maximum fine may be more than the market value but the issue here is about deterrent and not a fair fine dictated by market price.

The price offered by the Jakarta buyer must be very tempting for Wong to run the risk in person. Wong is known to use human couriers in this lucrative transnational business. Those poor couriers are mere collateral damage that he could easily pay off to spend a year or two in prison.

Questions abound as to how Wong managed to clear the security check with his bag full of snakes at the Penang International Airport. Why didn’t he obtain an export permit if indeed he had brought in the snake legally in the first place?

Have all the 95 snakes been carefully identified to be Boa constrictor constrictor and Boa constrictor imperator which are Appendix II species under Cites where regulated trade is allowed and not Boa constrictor occidentalis that is an Appendix I species where trade is prohibited?

Protected smuggler

Rumour has it that Wong’s client in Jakarta is a businessman with similar connection like him over here in Malaysia. Rumour also has it that the two Malagasy women with the inglorious distinction of being the first two persons to be charged under the newly-minted “Cites” Act and are now serving their one-year jail term, were also delivering to the same buyer.

Allegations of Wong’s “protected” status by a certain high-ranking officer in the Department of Wildlife and National Park (Perhilitan), the government agency that oversee wild fauna matters ranging from management to trade, is no longer news.

Animal rights groups had lodged reports urging the police and the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission to investigate the alleged claims highlighted by the media and the detailed accounts by lawyer-turned investigative journalist Bryan Christy in his book The Lizard King and an article in the January issue of the National Geography titled The Kingpin.

But the reports had so far been ignored.

The ministry also set up a task force to probe the conduct of the said officer and alleged abuse of special permits issued to Wong, but it ended with a lame decision to leave the matter in the hands of the very officer who claimed that she was looking into instituting legal actions against the author and publisher of National Geographic.

The authorities had generally downplayed the issue despite the pressure they had been getting from wildlife activists.

From my personal experience previously as a journalist highlighting numerous cases of mismanagement by Perhilitan, it is obvious that the ministry lacks competent personnel to analyse and probe mismanagement allegations nor has it any political will and determination to resolve the many outstanding issues.

Although the ministry is the final decision-making body on vital issues on wildlife, it is overly reliant on Perhilitan for technical advice.

The public relation arm of the ministry is only good at responding to public outcry by issuing standard PR statement that the government takes illegal wildlife trade seriously and highlighting some recent so-called success cases of enforcement.

So don’t hold your breath that there would be a serious probe into Wong’s network unless unrelenting public pressure is mounted against the ministry to deliver on its promise of “getting to the bottom” of the issue.

In fact, the speedy manner in which the case has been processed suggest that this would yet be another X file in the many enforcement cases where we the public will never get to know the extent of the investigation and the final findings.

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Constricted by boas – the fall of Anson Wong?

Posted on September 9, 2010. Filed under: Bio-diversity, Laws and Regulations |

-Free Malaysia Today- By Hilary Chiew “I don’t want to go to jail again.” — Those were the words uttered by Anson Wong slightly over a year ago to me. I was confident that he said that with full knowledge that he is untouchable in Southeast Asia – one of the regions which had become a safe playground for the flamboyant wildlife trafficker.

There is an undoubted air of cockiness in Wong. His underlying message was: Catch me if you can!

From his Toshiba laptop, he nonchalantly showed photographs of him holding a Malagasy ploughshare tortoise purportedly in a market in the neighbouring Zanzibar island off Tanzania. He claimed that he was on holiday there, and declared that he has remained clean since returning from the United States sometime in 2004.

Now, what are the chances of a person who has been convicted of running a wildlife smuggling ring that specialises in rare reptiles like the endangered ploughshare tortoise taking a holiday in Zanzibar and stumbling upon the very same species far away from its native habitat?

The ploughshare – Astrochelys yniphora or Angonoka in Malagasy – is the largest of Madagascar’s tortoises with adults reaching about 450cm in length. It is thought to number less than 500 adults in the wild and the entire wild population is found within the Baly Bay National Park, leading it to be classified as critically endangered by the World Conservation Union and listed on Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites).

Baly Bay is an extremely poor region and traffickers pay local people to find the animals. However, the real problem lies with the buyers and the collectors who encourage the illegal trade in endangered animals with no thought for the conservation of the species.

The ploughshare is a much coveted collectors’ item so much so that the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust captive breeding facility in Madagascar has now and then been hit by several thefts of the reptile.

In that interview with Wong, he “shared” an interesting inside story – that the nouveau riche of Chinese were eating the ploughshare. He finds it disgusting that the rare creature should end up in the cooking pot. He also revealed that he saw these tortoises in Bangkok, a place that he frequently visited.

He offered to provide inside information of the trade if I was interested to investigate.

Stroke of bad luck, for Wong

Then, a fortnight ago, by a stroke of sheer luck (good or bad, depending on which side you are on), his luggage broke on the conveyor belt as he was transiting KLIA for Jakarta to personally deliver the consignment to his client, who, according to him, would like to receive the consignment before Hari Raya.

In the bag were 95 Boa constrictors, two Rhinoceros vipers and a mata-mata turtle.

For that, he was jailed six months and fined RM190,000 (RM2,000 for each snake) under the International Trade in Endangered Species Act 2007 (also known as the Cites Act) that provide for a maximum fine of RM1 million and a jail term of up to seven years.

The sentence has now come under heavy criticisms notwithstanding the fact that Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Douglas Uggah Embas has promised to appeal against the lenient treatment.

If I were the judge, I would ask Wong how much is the client paying for a snake and then I would decide how much I would fine him. Of course, the judge would be constricted, pun intended, by the RM1 million ceiling according to the Cites Act.

Do the maths and you will arrive at the figure of RM10,526.30 per snake if Wong was handed the maximum fine instead of the RM2,000 that he had been ordered to pay for each snake. The maximum fine may be more than the market value but the issue here is about deterrent and not a fair fine dictated by market price.

The price offered by the Jakarta buyer must be very tempting for Wong to run the risk in person. Wong is known to use human couriers in this lucrative transnational business. Those poor couriers are mere collateral damage that he could easily pay off to spend a year or two in prison.

Questions abound as to how Wong managed to clear the security check with his bag full of snakes at the Penang International Airport. Why didn’t he obtain an export permit if indeed he had brought in the snake legally in the first place?

Have all the 95 snakes been carefully identified to be Boa constrictor constrictor and Boa constrictor imperator which are Appendix II species under Cites where regulated trade is allowed and not Boa constrictor occidentalis that is an Appendix I species where trade is prohibited?

Protected smuggler

Rumour has it that Wong’s client in Jakarta is a businessman with similar connection like him over here in Malaysia. Rumour also has it that the two Malagasy women with the inglorious distinction of being the first two persons to be charged under the newly-minted “Cites” Act and are now serving their one-year jail term, were also delivering to the same buyer.

Allegations of Wong’s “protected” status by a certain high-ranking officer in the Department of Wildlife and National Park (Perhilitan), the government agency that oversee wild fauna matters ranging from management to trade, is no longer news.

Animal rights groups had lodged reports urging the police and the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission to investigate the alleged claims highlighted by the media and the detailed accounts by lawyer-turned investigative journalist Bryan Christy in his book The Lizard King and an article in the January issue of the National Geography titled The Kingpin.

But the reports had so far been ignored.

The ministry also set up a task force to probe the conduct of the said officer and alleged abuse of special permits issued to Wong, but it ended with a lame decision to leave the matter in the hands of the very officer who claimed that she was looking into instituting legal actions against the author and publisher of National Geographic.

The authorities had generally downplayed the issue despite the pressure they had been getting from wildlife activists.

From my personal experience previously as a journalist highlighting numerous cases of mismanagement by Perhilitan, it is obvious that the ministry lacks competent personnel to analyse and probe mismanagement allegations nor has it any political will and determination to resolve the many outstanding issues.

Although the ministry is the final decision-making body on vital issues on wildlife, it is overly reliant on Perhilitan for technical advice.

The public relation arm of the ministry is only good at responding to public outcry by issuing standard PR statement that the government takes illegal wildlife trade seriously and highlighting some recent so-called success cases of enforcement.

So don’t hold your breath that there would be a serious probe into Wong’s network unless unrelenting public pressure is mounted against the ministry to deliver on its promise of “getting to the bottom” of the issue.

In fact, the speedy manner in which the case has been processed suggest that this would yet be another X file in the many enforcement cases where we the public will never get to know the extent of the investigation and the final findings.

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Penang wildlife dept boss transferred

Posted on September 7, 2010. Filed under: Laws and Regulations |

-The Star- PETALING JAYA: Natural Re­­sources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Douglas Uggah Embas said his ministry would appeal and seek a tougher penalty against international wildlife trafficker Anson Wong.

“I believe Wong got off lightly.

“My ministry will appeal for an appropriate penalty for a man who has a clear conviction record abroad,” he told The Star, adding that he would soon meet NGOs to eradicate loopholes in traffic enforcement.

In George Town, news of the transfer of the Penang National Park and Wildlife Department director to another state effective on Oct 1 became a hot topic among the employees of the state office.

Uggah confirmed that the director would be transferred to Terengganu but he declined to elaborate on the reasons to transfer the director.

A Wildlife Department official said the news came as a surprise to staff in the office yesterday morning.

“Everyone was puzzled as to why he should be transferred at such short notice,” said the official.

“The director will be on holiday during Hari Raya and will continue with his leave prior to the transfer.”

The director was posted to Penang in 2006 when he was promoted to the post of state National Park director.

Prior to that he was a senior officer at the department’s headquarters in Kuala Lumpur.

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Wildlife kingpin who traded from Penang

Posted on September 7, 2010. Filed under: Laws and Regulations |

-The Star-

Nicknamed the “Lizard King”, “Pablo Escobar of the wildlife trade” and “Asian wildlife kingpin”, Anson Wong began his foray into the wildlife trade by exhibiting reptiles at the now-defunct Bukit Jambul Reptile Sanctuary, a registered company that he and his wife owned.

From the early 1990s, Jones Road in Penang was the operating address for a host of companies linked to Wong, among them Sungai Rusa Wildlife, CBS Wildlife and air cargo operator Aerofleet.

In 1998, Wong was lured to Mexico to seal a deal with an undercover agent from the US Fish and Wildife Service, who posed as a buyer.

Codenamed Operation Chame­leon, undercover agents infiltrated Wong’s network, which imported and exported more than 300 protected species via Penang by concealing them in express delivery packages, airline baggage and large commercial shipments of legally declared animals.

He was arrested but fought a US order for his extradition for two years.

He failed in the end and was prosecuted in the United States on June 7, 2001, when he was handed a 71-month jail term and fined US$60,000 (RM187,000).

Wong was also banned from selling animals to anybody in the United States for three years after his jail term.

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