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‘Snakes on a plane’ trafficker gets 6 months in jail

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Notorious wildlife trafficker Anson Wong has been fined 190,000 Malaysian ringgit ($61,000) and sentenced to 6 months in jail for attempting to smuggle 95 boa constrictors, reports the Malaysian Star.

Anson Wong, made famous in The Lizard King, a book by Bryan Christy that exposed his trafficking activities, was arrested after a luggage malfunction led Malaysia Airlines security staff revealed he was illegally carrying 95 boa constrictors, two rhinoceros vipers and one matamata turtle on his flight from Penang to Jakarta.

Judge Zulhelmy Hasan also denied a request by Wong to have his laptop returned, according to the Malaysian Star.

“Senior legal adviser for the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry, Faridz Gohim Abdullah told the court that the laptop contained information about alleged related illegal activities,” wrote Yuen Mei Keng.

Wong’s sentence begins today.

Wong has been in trouble with the law before. In 2000 he plead guilty to wildlife trafficking in the US and was sentenced to 71 months in jail. Meanwhile last year authorities in the United States raided U.S. Global Exotics, a pet supplier that had been sourcing its animals from Wong’s company, CBS Wildlife and Sungai Rusa Wildlife. Nevertheless Malaysian authorities have generally been hesitant to interfere in his operations, according to The Lizard King.

Malaysia remains a major hub for the illegal wildlife trade. According to TRAFFIC, last month authorities at Kenya’s Jomo Kenyatta International Airport seized two metric tons of elephant ivory and five rhino horns, which were about to be illegally shipped to Malaysia. In the past four years, more than 10,000 kg of illegal elephant ivory have been seized after passing through Malaysia.

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