No escape for wildlife trade felons

Greater scrutiny: More agency involvement is necessary to curb the illegal wildlife trade.

PETALING JAYA: Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Abdul Hamid Bador will investigate reports on police officers being involved in smuggling activities

“Anyone – including security officers – who works with smuggling syndicates would have action taken against them.

“I even welcome whipping as punishment, ” he said, reiterating an earlier statement to introduce the punishment as a deterrent.

The top cop was responding to R.AGE’s exclusive report yesterday which revealed that officers, ranging from traffic policemen to high-level officers in the Malaysian Border Security Agency (Aksem), were working with international smuggling syndicates.

“I was not aware of such allegations but since the beginning (of my tenure as IGP) I’ve been stressing the need to restore integrity in the agencies manning our borders.

“I was shocked to learn about this information (police working with smuggling syndicates) but in the past few weeks our General Operations Force and marine operations have successfully foiled multiple attempts at wildlife smuggling.”Also in response to the report, global wildlife trade monitoring network Traffic called for greater scrutiny of smuggling activities as well as agencies stationed along the Malaysia-Thailand border.

R.AGE’s report is part of a global collaboration with over 30 journalists from 14 countries, under the Global Environmental Reporting Collective.

“Malaysia has some of the best-laid laws where wildlife protection is concerned but what we need is more vigilance and intelligence-led investigations at the border, and into the organised crime syndicates behind the smuggling, ” said Traffic senior communications officer Elizabeth John.

“It’s very worrying when enforcement officers themselves are involved in smuggling.

“That three officers from the same agency in Kedah are facing or have faced legal action in connection with pangolin trafficking is too much of a coincidence and shouldn’t be ignored by the authorities.”

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