Two plead guilty to smuggling crocodiles into Brunei

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN (Borneo Bulletin/ANN): Two men who pleaded guilty to involvement in the illegal importation of endangered wildlife were ordered to settle fines by the Magistate’s Court on Monday (July 12).

Dionysius Wee, a 41-year-old permanent resident, was ordered to settle a BND3, 000 fine or serve three months’ jail in default of payment, for the possession of two crocodiles listed in the appendix of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.

Muhammad Syafiq Awang, a 29-year-old local citizen, was ordered to settle a BND1, 500 fine or serve a month in jail in default of payment, for making an incorrect oral declaration to a customs officer.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Nor Azmeena Mohiddin informed court that Wee runs an entertainment business involving animal shows.

At 2.26pm on Jan 9, 2019, Wee had a crocodile hatchling in his car, while Muhammad Syafiq carried a more mature specimen in his van, while bound for the Sungai Tujoh control post.

Muhammad Syafiq arrived first and was queried about his cargo by a customs officer, when he said that he was only carrying some clothes.

A further inspection led to the discovery of the crocodile inside the van. Wee arrived shortly after and gave an explanation to the officers, while producing a document.

The two men were released, but were later summoned to court when subsequent investigations found that the document produced by Wee does not stand to allow importation of the crocodiles.

Magistrate Pengiran Masni Pengiran Bahar presided over the case. - Borneo Bulletin/Asia News Network

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