Wildlife organisation demands answers to lingering Lizard King questions

Wildlife organisation demands answers to lingering Lizard King questions
Endangered live boa constrictors are shown in a suitcase belonging to notorious wildlife trafficker Anson Wong in September 2010 after Malaysian police caught him attempting to smuggle them into Indonesia

PETALING JAYA - The Government must give solid answers to the alarming enforcement issues raised in an investigative film featuring wildlife crime kingpin Anson Wong, said Traffic Southeast Asia.

Its legal and policy officer Shenaaz Khan said Al Jazeera's 101 East film Return of the Lizard King had raised "so many doubts and questions about Malaysia's commitment to fight global wildlife trafficking business".

"It is time we had some solid answers from the Government," she said in an immediate response to the film, which premiered yesterday on the Al Jazeera network.

She urged the authorities to provide a credible explanation as to how Wong was seemingly back in the multi-million dollar illegal wildlife trade despite Government promises to the contrary.

Khan pointed out that Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri G. Palanivel had confirmed that new permits were refused to Wong and his wife, Cheah Bing Shee, while their earlier permits were revoked in 2010.

"This makes Wong's 'ask the Government' response - to the question of how he was able to carry on trading wildlife despite the revocation of his permits - a very worrying one. It requires clarification from the Government," she said.

Khan called upon the ministry and the Department of Wildlife and Natural Parks (Perhilitan) to declare all permits issued since 2010 to companies linked to Wong and his wife, which were named in the film.

She said the authorities must reveal who approved these permits and what species were traded using those permits.

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