Revoke licences call for repeat wildlife trafficking offender
The comments come after the Malaysia Sessions Court sentenced Keng Liang “Anson” Wong, owner of two wildlife establishments in Penang, to six months jail today, after he was caught last August with listed boa constrictors in his luggage at Kuala Lumpur International Airport.
“On the other hand, the fine of merely RM190 000 ($US 60,000) appears to be a slap on the wrist in view of the fact that Wong had 95 snakes in his possession and that the aggregate maximum fine that could be imposed was RM 1 million ($US 320,000),” said Dato’ Dr. Dionysius Sharma, Executive Director/CEO of WWF-Malaysia.
“The fine comes up a little short in relation to the offence.”
Anson Wong, known as “the Lizard King” and a “notorious” wildlife trafficker, was sentenced in the US to six years jail and fined $60,000 in 2001 after admitting to wildlife trafficking crimes.
However, his counsel in the current case told the court Anson was a first time offender.
“ WWF-Malaysia also urges the Ministry to now revoke ALL of Anson Wong’s current licenses to trade in wildlife, including his two wildlife establishments in Penang as well as those linked to his family members,” Dato’ Sharma said.
This would be in line with Section 17 of Malaysia’s International Trade in Endangered Species Act 2008 under which Wong was charged, where the Management Authority may cancel permits if the holder of such permits has been convicted under this Act.
According to Dato’ Sharma, it is justified to revoke any such licenses granted to his family members as there is a strong need to pre-empt the risk of illegal wildlife trade being furthered under the guise of legality and still very much under Wong’s control.
For further information:
Sara Sukor, Senior Communications Officer, Species, WWF Malaysia
Tel: +6 012 30 60 404,