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Friday
Jun082018

Malaysia seizes over 680 wildlife and parts in operation against wildlife cybercrime

Perhilitan announced the crackdown on online widlife crime during a press conference live streamed on FacebookKuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 8th June 2018—Wildlife cybercrime in Peninsular Malaysia took a hit this month with authorities netting over 680 wild animals and parts in three separate raids.

The seizures were linked to illegal online wildlife trade and three men arrested in connection with the raids were believed to have played the role of wildlife suppliers who used social media to carry out their illegal trade.

The majority of live animals seized were reptiles and amphibians: 290 snakes, turtles and lizards as well as 222 frogs. The raids also yielded 99 tarantulas, 17 scorpions, 12 skulls, 8 canines and 3 live mammals.

The biggest seizure took place in a house in the township of Ampang, minutes away from the capital city of Kuala Lumpur. A 65-year-old local man was arrested after the Department of Wildlife and National Parks (PERHILITAN) found 385 wild animals and 30 eggs in the premises on 4th June.

Hornbill skulls were among the 12 skulls and 243 live wild animals seized in a raid on 28th May in the northern state of Perak. A 32-year-old man was arrested.

Most recently on Wednesday, PERHILITAN nabbed a local man in the town of Seremban in the south of the country with a White-handed Gibbon, for which he was sentenced today to three years in jail, the maximum term for the offence. The Environmental Court in Seremban also fined him MYR20,000 (about USD5,000) for the charge under the Wildlife Conservation Act 2010.

Officers also discovered and seized two Asian Palm Civets at the same man’s house during a subsequent search.

The busts were carried out under special operations that target wildlife cybercrime. This was the sixth such operation in a series that began in 2014, said PERHILITAN in a press released shared with TRAFFIC.

PERHILITAN Director-General Datuk Abdul Kadir Abu Hashim warned illegal online wildlife traders that the Department would pursue, catch and prosecute them. He also warned consumers that action would be taken against them should they be caught buying wildlife illegally.

Speaking of the scale of wildlife cybercrime during the press conference that was live streamed on Facebook, Abdul Kadir said PERHILITAN received an average of 50 reports of illegal wildlife trade online every day.

"This level of operation was no mean feat and TRAFFIC congratulates PERHILITAN for their dedication in addressing online wildlife trafficking," said Kanitha Krishnasamy, Acting Director for TRAFFIC in Southeast Asia.

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