Thursday, July 07, 2011

How Corrupt Can Malaysia Be?

No action on international wildlife trafficking syndicate
Posted on 6 July 2011 - 06:14pm
Alyaa Alhadjri

KUALA LUMPUR (July 6, 2011): PKR vice president N. Surendran today claimed that no action has been taken by the authorities to investigate "crucial evidence" which may lead to the crippling of an international wildlife trafficking syndicate allegedly operating in Malaysia.

Surendran, who is also the Malaysian Animal Rights Society (Roar) president, said the information could be obtained from Emilienne Justine Sarah – a Madagascar native who was arrested at KLIA in July last year for attempting to smuggle tortoises out of her country.

Emilliene was subsequently charged and detained for eight months at Kajang prison, where she gave birth to a baby boy and was transferred to Lenggeng detention camp before being deported to Madagascar last month.

At a press conference at PKR's headquarters, Surendran said Emilienne, while under detention in Lenggeng, had with the help of an animal rights activist lodged a police report which shed light on the "kingpins" involved in illegal wildlife trafficking.

"She was already under detention but the police did not make any effort to obtain the information from her, so she had to lodge an official report," he said.

In Emilienne's police report which Surendran distributed to the media, she named the notorious "Lizard King" Anson Wong who is now also behind bars as the person who had allegedly paid her US$600 (RM1,801) to smuggle in the tortoises from Madagascar.

Emilienne, who formerly worked as a waitress, said she needed the extra money to help support her family and was reassured that it would be a foolproof operation as custom officers in Madagascar and KLIA had allegedly been paid off.

"I first went to Penang in April last year and was told to contact a man named Vijay who owned a shop that sold tortoises, chameleons and snakes.

"When I met him (Vijay), he ordered me to transport various species of animals from Madagascar to Penang in July last year," she wrote in her police report which was lodged on June 23 at the Lenggeng station.

She said that two days prior to her departure for Malaysia from Madagascar, she was introduced to a man named Ong and his girlfriend who were responsible for packing the tortoises to be trafficked.

"While I was detained at Kajang prison, I found out that Ong's real name was Anson Wong. I was shown his picture and I can confirm that he was the man who hired me," said Emilienne.

Surendran, together with Lawyers for Liberty campaign director Fadiah Nadwa Fikri, called on the relevant authorities to investigate all claims made by Emillienne in her report and identify the man named "Vijay" who is purportedly operating in Penang.

"Wong is now behind bars, but his 'tentacles' are still spreading to as far as Madagascar. The authorities should take measures to use all information provided by Emilienne and crack down on these notorius characters," said Fadiah Nadwa.

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