Sun, Aug 29, 2010 - Page 5 News List

Malaysia’s ‘Lizard King’ arrested over smuggling

AFP, KUALA LUMPUR

Malaysia has arrested a notorious wildlife smuggler after the man tried to smuggle about 100 live snakes to neighboring Indonesia, police and reports said yesterday.

Anson Wong, who has earned the nickname of “Lizard King” for smuggling wildlife, in particular reptiles, was detained by police at Kuala Lumpur International Airport on Thursday night.

Wong, reported to be in his 50s, was nabbed after airline staff were alerted to a piece of broken ­luggage that was found to contain live snakes of several different species.

Wong was in transit from Malaysia’s northern state of Penang to Jakarta when he was detained, the Star and New Straits Times newspapers reported, quoting unidentified sources.

“He was picked up by Malaysia Airlines security staff on Thursday night,” police chief of central Selangor state, Khalid Abu Bakar said.

“He is under police lock-up now. The case is being ­investigated by the Wildlife and National Parks Department,” the official said, adding that he had no other details on the case.

The department’s top officials declined comment when contacted by reporters. Wong will be held until Tuesday for further investigation, reports said.

Described by wildlife groups as one of the world’s most-wanted smugglers of wild animals, Wong was reportedly sentenced to 71 months in jail in the US in 2001 after he pleaded guilty to trafficking charges.

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