Anson Sentenced

Today, in Malaysia, judge Zulhelmy Hasan sentenced Anson Wong to 6 months jail time and fined him 191,000 MYR ($61,000) for smuggling wildlife without a permit. 

 

It is a significant exercise of Malaysia’s brand new wildlife law, the International Trade in Endangered Species Act, though it is only half the one-year sentence two women from Madagscar recently got under the same law.  Anson was potentially facing 1 million MYR fine and up to 7 years in jail. 

Agents seized Anson’s Nokia cell phone[s] and his Toshiba laptop computer at the airport, and though Anson’s lawyer asked for them back, the judge agreed that under the new law material related to a crime can be kept by investigators.  Anson’s cell phone and laptop offer a potential trove of info, since he communicates regularly on both with dealers around the world. 

Anson’s attorney asked for leniency since it was “his first offense in Malaysia.”  He also said Anson promised never to do it again.  For his part, Anson stood for photographs during bathroom breaks and exchanged business cards with press in the hallway.

As the prosecutor in the case said, “Malaysia has been trying to clean up its reputation as a wildlife trafficking hub, but Wong keeps ignoring that…”  He emphasized that Wong’s activities “have damaged Malaysia’s reputation.”   

Some Clips:

From The Star  From Malay Mail  From BBC  From Mongabay.com

WWF calls for his licenses to be revoked.

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3 Responses to “Anson Sentenced”

  1. paul white Says:

    He really was smuggling boas? WHY? CBB babies only sell for about 60-100 bucks from breeders. I mean, if it was something high end it’d at least make sense–I don’t like money as a motive for smuggling but it’s at least understandable, I mean if you smuggle 30-40 animals you can get 1,000 each for that at least works out to a better cost/benefit/risk analysis than smuggling some animals you won’t get much for…

  2. Bryan Christy Says:

    Hi Paul,

    I can only guess that Anson was making the trip to Indo anyway and decided to save a few bucks on stuff he was bringing along. It speaks to his audacity, to his confidence that he would never be stopped by airport officials, that he would handcarry something as inexpensive as S. American boa constrictors. (It also speaks volumes that he would send venomous animals through in his luggage.) As to your cost-benefit analysis point, it suggests Anson considered there to be zero cost/risk to being stopped. He was right, too. No one in Customs or the wildlife department stopped him. If his suitcase had not broken he would have made it.

  3. paul white Says:

    I think the hots in the luggage speaks more for his craziness…I can’t imagine having a rhino viper in with my socks and underwear. I like hots, and do some field work with crotalids, but eesh.
    I guess I’m surprised that it’s worth smuggling them at all…I know boa breeders that have gotten out of breeding them because the market is so depressed and getting them from S. America, to his place and then to Malayasia just seems like it’d cost more than it’d bring. I don’t doubt he did it; the guy’s an inveterate wildlife abuser, but damn.