R.AGE goes undercover to expose pangolin trafficking

  • Nation
  • Tuesday, 10 Dec 2019

A pangolin rescued from an online wildlife trader is handed over to Perhilitan officers.

PETALING JAYA: The Star’s R.AGE team has been working to expose the underground world of pangolin trafficking since its exclusive report on Sept 25, which revealed the involvement of a group of corrupt Malaysian policemen in the international pangolin smuggling trade.

The report was part of an international investigation by the Global Environmental Reporting Collective (GERC), which triggered an investigation by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC).

It revealed not just allegations of the bribing of border officers, but of cases where officers assisted in the smuggling itself.

MACC deputy chief commissioner (operations) Datuk Seri Azam Baki was quoted in a follow-up story calling on those with information on smuggling activities to share it with the commission.

“We have conducted undercover work and exposed corruption practices at our border (in the past), but we have never looked into corruption in wildlife smuggling specifically,” he said.

The GERC investigations, which spanned 13 countries with R.AGE as its Malaysian reporting partner, saw similar reports being published in partner countries including Hong Kong and Thailand.

The collective’s corresponding report, which was launched simultaneously, revealed an international pangolin trafficking trade fuelled by an overwhelming demand from China.

This demand has driven the animal to the brink of extinction in countries as far away as India, Indonesia and Cameroon. Demand is also building up at home.

The Star’s report on Nov 30 also revealed that traders are openly promoting illegal wildlife products online, including pangolin, tiger and elephant parts – all of which are protected under the Wildlife Conservation Act 2010.

They are also listed on Appendix 1 of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, meaning any commercial trade of these animals and their body parts is illegal.

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R.AGE , pangolin trafficking


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