No journalist in Malaysia has done more on the illegal wildlife trade, including Anson Wong, than Hilary Chiew. Below is her take on her meeting Anson Wong and her reasons why Malaysia’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment cannot fix the wildlife department.
BTW, the suggestion that a lawsuit would answer the question how Anson Wong was able to smuggle for decades is a ruse to divert attention from a proper inquiry, and a threat to journalists, NGOs and Malaysian citizens who expose crimes.
By endorsing a lawsuit, the Ministry is saying it denies the facts of The Kingpin story, denies the facts of Anson Wong’s U.S. confession, denies that the wildlife department has never once brought a material case against Anson Wong, and denies what NGOs and newspapers in Malaysia have reported for years: that species from all over the world are smuggled through Malaysia, making it a global wildlife trafficking hub. The problem is obvious: the wildlife department leadership either cannot, or will not, competently investigate wildlife traffickers. Fixing that is simple, but, as Hilary Chiew suggests below, the Ministry appears to “lack competent personnel” along with “political will and determination.”
Constricted by Boas–The Fall of Anson Wong
COMMENT “I don’t want to go to jail again.” — Those were the words uttered by Anson Wong slightly over a year ago to me.
I was confident that he said that with full knowledge that he is untouchable in Southeast Asia – one of the regions which had become a safe playground for the flamboyant wildlife trafficker.
There is an undoubted air of cockiness in Wong. His underlying message was: Catch me if you can!
From his Toshiba laptop, he nonchalantly showed photographs of him holding a Malagasy ploughshare tortoise purportedly in a market in the neighbouring Zanzibar island off Tanzania. He claimed that he was on holiday there, and declared that he has remained clean since returning from the United States sometime in 2004.
Now, what are the chances of a person who has been convicted of running a wildlife smuggling ring that specialises in rare reptiles like the endangered ploughshare tortoise taking a holiday in Zanzibar and stumbling upon the very same species far away from its native habitat? (more…)