Man sentenced to three months' jail for owning geckos


TAWAU: An Indonesian man has been sentenced to three months' jail and fined RM30,000 by the Sessions Court here, after he pleaded guilty to having four live geckos in his possession.

On Tuesday (April 16), Sessions Court Judge Awang Krisnada Awang Mahmud ordered 42-year-old Arip Samsudin to serve another nine months in prison, in addition to the jail term already meted out to him if he failed to pay the fine.

Arip pleaded guilty to committing the offence at a hotel in Bandar Fajar here at 11am on Feb 22.

This is the first case involving geckos to be prosecuted in Sabah.

Keeping geckos without a permit is an offence under Section 41(2) of the Sabah Wildlife Conservation Enactment 1997.

Offenders could be liable for a fine between RM30,000 and RM100,000, or an imprisonment term between six months and five years, or both.

Arip asked the court for leniency, because his wife had given birth to their sixth child while he was held in detention.

He had smuggled in the geckos from Indonesia to Sabah, because the protected animal could fetch a price of RM200 each due to high demand.

Arip, who entered the country illegally, was ordered to be deported back to his country of origin after serving his jail term.

The geckos, which were estimated to be between 15cm to 16cm long, were released into a forest reserve on April 7 after a court order was obtained.