Govt seeks to clamp down on ivory smuggling

Govt seeks to clamp down on ivory smuggling

The Government wants to impose higher penalties under the Wildlife Protection Act to deter smuggling of ivories and hunting trophies involving endangered animals, the Dewan Rakyat was told.

Deputy Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Dr James Dawos Mamit said the Government was considering a higher fine for those caught smuggling hunting trophies such as tiger skin.

"If the authorities seize these items, we want to slap the offenders with higher fines," he said in reply to a supplementary question from Datuk Irmohizam Ibrahim (BN-Kuala Selangor), who asked whether the Government was looking to increase higher penalties against those caught smuggling ivory into the country.

To the initial question, Dr James said the Customs Department had seized a total of 4,624 elephant tusks involving 11 cases between 2011 and last year.

He said the seizures were made at several entry points including Pasir Gudang Port, Butterworth Port, Port Klang, KL International Airport (KLIA) and LCCT.

"However, the seizures made by the Customs Department only involved consignments of illegal trading and investigations have been launched under the Customs Act 1967, as authorities have yet to identify the culprit," he told Zairil Khir Johari (DAP-Bukit Bendera).

Zairil had asked the ministry to reveal the number of ivory confiscated, arrests and those charged for selling ivory.

Dr James said the Wildlife and National Parks Department also arrested four suspects involving a seizure of 43 units of ivory.

"A Chinese citizen has been sentenced to two months' jail and a fine of RM250,000 (S$93,000) for possession and exporting of 16 units of elephant tusks without special permit, a local was fined RM200,000 or 36 months of jail for having in possession nine units of elephant tusks while another was fined RM2,000 for having two units of elephant tusks.

"Another case involving the possession of 16 units of elephant tusks is still under investigation," he said, adding that the seized ivories were kept by the Government.

Report compilled by  Martin Carvalho, Rahimy Rahim, Christine Cheah, Rahman Ghazali and Dina Murad.

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