Archive for Smuggling
www.guardian.co.uk 12th December 2010
A united effort by police forces in Cameroon, Gabon, the Republic of Congo, and the Central African Republic (CAR) has broken up a highly organised smuggling ring that transported endangered species abroad. Key dealers were arrested and hundreds of kilos of ivory, turtle shells, and animal skins seized. The effort was orchestrated by the Last Great Ape Organisation, a wild-life enforcement NGO, and signals a new step in cross-border cooperation on the subject of endangered species protection. In Cameroon, three dealers were arrested with 17 turtle shells and a 1,000 African grey parrots destined for Nigeria. A policeman was also arrested in suspicion of receiving bribes of £2,000. In Gabon, 16 dealers were arrested with 150 kg of ivory, worth about £90,000. It is thought to have been headed for China, the largest market for such products. It is the first time ivory dealers have been locked away in the country. In the CAR, 7 leopard skins, 2 lion skins, and over 30 kg of ivory were discovered and one dealer taken into custody. Wildlife preservation in central Africa has been difficult in the past due to poor legislation and weak enforcement. Corruption has also been a big problem with all four of the countries fairing poorly in Transparency International’s monitoring of corruption issues.
www.independent.co.uk 1st November 2010
Quoted from source:
‘Five people were arrested and three wild elephants seized as Indian police busted an elephant-smuggling ring in north-eastern Assam, officials said today. Police official PK Dutta said documents seized during the operation showed that the gang had smuggled at least 92 elephants from the north-eastern state to other parts of India over the past five years. Selling elephants is barred under Indian law and even getting permission to move domesticated elephants between states is a lengthy procedure. Nevertheless, authorities say there remains a thriving trade in elephants, with many wealthy landowners in the states of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh buying the animals as status symbols. Authorities said the elephants are usually transported by truck. The smugglers are suspected of colluding with forestry officials, who have checkpoints along the major roads to prevent this type of smuggling. Police investigated the ring after a local conservation group, the Green Heart Nature Club, filed a written complaint last week, Mr Dutta said. After a three-day operation, authorities arrested five people and took custody of the three wild elephants, which did not have the identifying microchip implants required of all domesticated elephants, he said. The group planned to smuggle as many as 10 elephants out in its latest operation, Mr Dutta added. The smugglers regularly captured wild elephants from the forests of Assam, trained them for a year or two, and then claimed they were the offspring of the state’s many domestic elephants, he said. Wildlife authorities in Assam, home to more than 5,000 wild Asiatic elephants, denied the existence of the illegal elephant trade. “We are examining the matter, but I can say there is no smuggling of elephants out of Assam,” said Suresh Chand, the state’s chief wildlife warden.’
Sources: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news 7th September 2010
A wildlife trafficker known as the ‘Lizard King’ has been jailed in Malaysia following his arrest at Kuala Lumpur Airport with 95 boa constrictors in his luggage. The boas, which are an endangered species, shared the suitcase with two Rhinoceros Vipers and a Matamata Turtle. The creatures had originally come from the island state of Penang but Anson Wong, the smuggler, had managed to pass unhindered onto the first flight of his trip. Mr. Wong has now been sentenced to 6 months in jail and a $61,000 fine. The maximum penalty for such a charge is 7 years in jail and a fine of 5 times Mr. Wong’s. Environmentalist groups, including WWF and Traffic Southeast Asia, have complained about the leniency of the sentence.
In 2001, Mr. Wong was convicted of animal smuggling in the US and sentenced to 71 months in jail.