Posts Tagged ‘Wildlife Department’

Problem is with Ministry, says Expert

Thursday, September 9th, 2010

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

By Hilary Chiew 

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…)

Academy of Sciences Malaysia: A Great Honor

Tuesday, January 13th, 2009

Yesterday I had the great honor of speaking to the Academy of Sciences Malaysia.  In introducing me, Professor Mohd Nordin pointed out to the audience that the Academy normally invites only Nobel laureates to speak. It was a very generous introduction to a very packed auditorium, and I am grateful to the Academy for making an exception. 

We had very good discussion regarding what it took to improve wildlife enforcement, the story behind the phrase ‘Fortress Malaysia,’ and the story of Operation Chameleon and the arrest of Anson Wong.  I was pleased to clarify that the book was non-fiction and that every quotation in the chapter ‘Fortress Malaysia’ is taken verbatim from recorded telephone conversations or actual correspondence. 

In the audience we had conservationists from Malaysia Nature Society, TRAFFIC, World Wildlife Fund, the United Nations, and others, as well as veterinarians, scientists, and those interested in the story of Malaysia and wildlife trafficking.  I was very pleased that not only did former Wildlife Department (Perhilitan) Director General Mohd Kahn attend but so did wildlife officers from nearly every state in Malaysia.  Dir. General Mohd Kahn told me he enjoyed the book very much and through his thoughtful questions, shared the difficulties of protecting wildlife with the audience.  Afterwards Dato Dr. Salleh Mohd Nor, Secretary General of the Academy, and Professor Nordin hosted a lovely tea.