Below I repost an article published in the January Issue of the National Geographic Magazine, The Asian Wildlife Trade http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2010/01/asian-wildlife/christy-text. It take me a while to decided to post it here because I think the world need to know about what is happening to wildlife that we all love and care for and how the local authority treated the people who jeopardized the wildlife that are belongs to no one but the nature itself.
For years, the main character of the article, the infamous wildlife trader and smuggler, Anson Wong, has been operating his illegal wildlife trade under the eyes of the Malaysian Wildlife Department also known as PERHILITAN. Although Anson has been prosecuted in US in 2001. His operation continue until today.
I felt angry after reading a news few days ago about his latest venture
After you read the articles and the news http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2010/2/1/nation/5568465&sec=nation,
I encourage you to write to the local Malaysian newspapers Star - email@example.com and NST - firstname.lastname@example.org to express your concern over the issue. This wildlife trading simply cannot be continue. Anson’s business must be stop or all the wildlife in these regions will be jeopardized!
Photograph by Mark Leong
If the judge thought a ban on Anson Wong would work, he was mistaken. Shortly after his arrest, Anson's wife and business partner, Cheah Bing Shee, established a new company, CBS Wildlife, which exported wildlife to the U.S. while Anson was in prison. His main company, Sungai Rusa Wildlife, continued to ship despite the ban. Now that he's free, Anson has launched a new wildlife venture, a zoo that promises to be his most audacious enterprise yet.
The path to market typically begins when poor hunters or farmers catch animals for local traders, who pass them up the supply chain, though some traffickers—Anson Wong among them—have even dispatched their own poachers, posing as tourists. In Asia, wildlife ends up on the banquet table or in medicine shops; in Western countries, in the living rooms of exotic-animal fanciers. The economics are as easy to understand as an art auction: the rarer the item, the higher the price. Around the globe, nature is dying, and the prices of her rarest works are going up.
Special Operations began its hunt for Anson Wong in the fall of 1993. Ops prided itself on tackling large-scale commercial traffickers. The group's work on exotic-bird trafficking had resulted in the breakup of smuggling operations around the world—involving dozens of convictions in U.S. courts—and had contributed to passage of the Wild Bird Conservation Act of 1992, which banned the import of many vulnerable bird species. Overnight, imports of macaws, African gray parrots, and other psittacines had dropped from hundreds of thousands a year to hundreds.
Informants had been raising Anson Wong's name for years, and Ops suspected he was the global kingpin of the illegal reptile trade. Anson was already wanted in the U.S. for smuggling rare reptiles to a Florida dealer in the late 1980s. He was said to be acutely aware of his status as an outlaw. There would be no "stinging" Anson Wong, no tricking him with a onetime transaction in a hotel room or catching him personally bringing reptiles through an airport. To get him, Ops would have to come up with something clever.
Morrison marveled at Anson's dexterity. He could broker turtles out of Peru without ever touching them. He contracted out poaching hits on a wildlife sanctuary in New Zealand. He owned a wildlife business in Vietnam. And he boasted an ability to enforce his deals using Chinese muscle.
In one instance Anson offered Morrison 20 Timor pythons for $15,000. Morrison said he was interested but worried that the snakes would lack CITES paperwork. "They'll definitely be coming with papers," Anson said. "I will have a fall guy and he will get arrested. Plus the goods will be confiscated, and the goods will be sold to me by the department."
Morrison suggested they start out by smuggling bear bile, an ingredient in traditional Chinese medicine. Anson agreed that there was high demand for bear bile in China and South Korea, and he said he had a client willing to pay up to a hundred dollars an ounce for the liquid. "Please remember," he wrote Morrison, "I am not selling direct—too dangerous." Instead, he would use a middleman.
"We can meet anywhere here in Asia," Anson wrote. Argentina, South Africa, Peru, France, and England were all OK too. "No New Zealand," he stipulated, "or Australia."
They settled on Mexico.
With Anson Wong's arrest that September day in 1998, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service accom¬plished its mission, but it may have lost a war. "We focused everything on one climax," George Morrison told me. Exhausted, he left full-time undercover work. Rick Leach, the group's supervisor, retired, and soon Special Operations had all but shut its doors.
Five years later, on November 10, 2003, Anson went free. Reporters flocked to Malaysia. They parked in front of his headquarters on Penang, a tiny island off the west coast, and tried to take his photograph. He refused to speak to the press.
Since his release he's had only one brush with the law. On March 16, 2006, Manny Esguerra, an alert Thai Airways cargo employee stationed in Manila, questioned a shipment of reptiles en route from the Philippines to Sungai Rusa Wildlife in Malaysia. The consignment lacked export permits, in violation of Philippine law. Esguerra, as required by his airline, telephoned the intended recipient, which confirmed the shipment. Esguerra referred the case to Philippine authorities. Then the Philippine supplier named in the shipping records evaporated. The seized reptiles themselves vanished before authorities had a chance to investigate further, turning up later at a remote Philippine rescue center. Local news articles presented the case as a success, but no one was arrested. The only identifiable person who could be connected to the illegal shipment was safe in Fortress Malaysia—Anson Wong.
Situated in the trendy Pulau Tikus ("rat island") section of Penang, Sungai Rusa Wildlife might easily be mistaken for a hair salon. No wider than a family garage and unidentified, it's one of dozens of units along a quiet strip of retail shops offering tummy reduction, skin care, and spa treatments. When I walked in on March 2, 2007, a black BMW and a windowless delivery van bearing the address of Anson's Penang-based reptile farm were parked out front. Next door was Xie Design, an interior furnishings business Anson's wife operates.
They were evidence photos of Indian star tortoises he'd smuggled, each page stamped by the Northern District of California federal court. They may have been a reminder to Anson from his wife, but they were also a warning to every person who stepped through his door: I, Anson Wong, have run the toughest legal gantlet in the world, and I am here.
He was deceptively boyish-looking. He wore large, round glasses and had a ponytail, which was flecked with gray. At 49, his face was without stress. He had the cultured air of a successful artist, a sculptor maybe, and he spoke with a pleasant British curl to his perfect English. Behind his head was a map of the world. Behind me slept a reticulated python, the world's longest python.
I said I was writing a book about his U.S. customer Mike Van Nostrand, who had also played a cat-and-mouse game with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. "You're the main guy in Asia," I said. "Mike told me that if it wasn't for Anson Wong, there would be no reptile industry in the United States."
Wildlife is an integral part of every Asian economy, I said, and I'm interested in the line between man and nature.
"I'm building another zoo," he said, pointing to a 30-page document on his desk titled "Anson Wong, Flora and Fauna Village." "The plans were approved yesterday." I began thumbing through the architectural drawings.
Anson stared at me. "So, you're a journalist," he said, stiffening.
One day in late December 2007, Anson's black Mercedes-Benz pulled into Penang International Airport and picked up two of Malaysia's top wildlife enforcement officials, Perhilitan's law enforcement division director, Sivananthan Elagupillay, and his boss, Deputy Director General Misliah Mohamad Basir. The officers had flown in from Kuala Lumpur for a press conference launching Flora and Fauna Village, now a joint venture between Penang's forestry department and Anson Wong and Michael Ooi's enterprise. It would be a five-acre zoo carved out of the Teluk Bahang Forest Reserve, and to help finance it, the Penang state government was contributing 700,000 ringgit (U.S. $200,000). A photograph in Malaysia's newspaper The Star showed government officials inspecting the zoo's new tiger den.
I wondered what Misliah thought of the man who had smuggled so much endangered wildlife right under her nose.
"What is that?" she asked pleasantly.
I smiled. "Anson Wong."
Misliah Mohamad Basir, so inconspicuous, seemingly so benign, is one of the most powerful wildlife decision-makers on the planet. On her watch Malaysia has become a global trafficking hub.
I kept coming back to how delightful she seemed in person. "Isn't Misliah the sweetest little woman you ever met?" I asked a senior Perhilitan officer.
Misliah had mentioned an adversary named Chris Shepherd, an intrepid investigator who has drawn attention to black market wildlife operations throughout Southeast Asia. "He says we're just a transit country," Misliah told me, with obvious disdain. "He says we do nothing to stop smuggling."
NGO staff have many demands on their time: fund-raising and species reports, press interviews, market surveys, donor meetings, and bill paying. NGOs are not police. They have no enforcement authority, their employees depend for their visas on the wildlife officials they might investigate, and if NGOs push too hard, they invite trouble. In 2008, TRAFFIC issued a report on the Sumatran trade in tiger parts and urged Indonesia to increase its enforcement. In response, Indonesia froze TRAFFIC's activities, a move tantamount to expulsion. Tonny Soehartono, the Ministry of Forestry official responsible for Indonesia's action, explained his reasoning: "TRAFFIC attacked my country."