Friday, August 21, 2009

Wildlife Smuggler from Penang

August 21, 2009
Report lodged against convicted wildlife smuggler, two govt agencies

KUALA LUMPUR: A group of non-governmental organisations has lodged a police report against convicted wildlife smuggler Anson Wong, the Department of Wildlife and National Parks (Perhilitan) and the Customs Department.

Speaking to reporters after lodging the report at the Brickfields Police Station, Malaysian Animal Rights Society president R. Surendran said:

“The reason we are lodging the police report is because, over the years Perhilitan has failed to take any action against Wong for smuggling and has even given him special permits to catch and keep animals.

“We know that one of the modus operandi of wildlife traffickers is to get permits to keep animals and later declare them dead, when in actual fact they have been smuggled out of the country,” he said.

Last Friday, Surendran lodged a report with the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission on possible corruption involving Perhilitan.

The report lodged was also based on the book The Lizard King that exposed the existence of such a trade in the country.

He cited page 192 of the book by American Bryan Christy that highlighted a relationship between Wong and a “second-ranked Customs official” in Penang.

He called on the police to investigate Wong’s activities since the 1990s.

Also present with Surendran Friday were representatives from the Malaysian Animal Welfare Society, Pet Positive and the Independent Living and Training Centre.

Two Members of Parliament -‑ S. Manikavasagam (Kapar) and M. Manogaran (Teluk Intan) ‑- accompanied the group.

Manikavasagam said that he would raise the issue in Parliament during the October meeting.

August 17, 2009
Author: Wong downplayed smuggling role

PETALING JAYA: In Philadelphia, 15,200km away from here, author of The Lizard King, Bryan Christy is keenly following recent news on infamous wildlife trafficker Anson Wong Keng Liang — one of the key characters in his book.

Christy uploaded the Starprobe stories on Malaysia being an illegal wildlife trade hotspot on his blog ( and expressed his feelings on Wong’s comment about him.

Amused, he wrote: “As for his remembering our time together as only a 15-minute assignation followed by an offer of a lift home, I feel cheap…yet pregnant.”

Wong had downplayed the intimate information of his smuggling activities detailed by Christy in the book released last September.

In his latest entry, Christy said he was pleased that the Malaysian public are speaking up as shown by the letters to The Star, calling for investigations into the allegations of the involvement of a high-ranking officer in the Department of Wildlife and National Park (Perhilitan) in Wong’s trafficking activities that led to his incarceration in the United States in 2001.

Wong was lured by an undercover agent to Mexico in 1998 and later extradited to the US at the end of 2000.

He pleaded guilty to some 40 counts of smuggling, conspiracy, money laundering and violations of US wildlife protection laws and was sentenced to a 71-month jail term and fined US$60,000.

The three-year Operation Chameleon infiltrated Wong’s network which imported and exported more than 300 protected species by concealing them in express delivery packages, airline baggages and large commercial shipment of legally approved animals.

The ring also trafficked in several extremely endangered reptile species in the wild, including the Komodo dragon and the rarest tortoise species on earth, the Malagasy ploughshare tortoise.

The Starprobe articles also attracted the attention of local bloggers including one who is acquainted with Wong.

Zeek ( said he remembered Wong fondly as the Ah Liang uncle that he used to hang out with when he was younger.


August 13, 2009
Ministry to review Wong’s special permits

PETALING JAYA: The Natural Resources and Environment Ministry will review former wildlife trafficker Anson Wong’s special permits and licences, and probe allegations that a high-ranking officer has been involved in his smuggling activities in the past.

Minister Datuk Douglas Uggah Embas said he had instructed officers to gather all the relevant documents from the Department of Wildlife and National Parks (Perhilitan) immediately to facilitate investigation into allegations of special permit abuses.

“We will check the background of Wong’s tigers. We will get to the bottom of this matter.

“We are concerned about the reputation of Malaysia being a trafficking hub and we are doing our best to curb this menace,” he told The Star yesterday.

He said Perhilitan had acknowledged that in the 1990s, auctioning of confiscated specimen was one of the disposal methods but that this practice had since been stopped.

Wong was convicted of trafficking in highly endangered species by the US government in 2001 and sentenced to 71 months in jail.

On Tuesday, the Penang Government demanded to know details of the special permit and licences issued to Wong over two Bengal tigers.

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