Retiree on trial for keeping protected wildlife

Cute but protected: Leopard tortoises were one of the species Wong was accused of keeping.

PETALING JAYA: A retiree has been hit with seven charges for keeping protected wildlife without a special permit.

Wong Kek Choong, 53, claimed trial at the Sessions Court here.

In the first offence, he was charged with keeping a black pond turtle (geoclemys hamiltonii), a protected wildlife species under the Second Schedule of the Wildlife Conservation Act, without a special permit.

He faces a fine up to RM30,000 and jail up to 15 years, upon conviction.

For the second and third offences, he was accused of keeping a river terrapin (batagur affinis) and an African spurred tortoise (geochelone sulcata) without a special permit.

If convicted, he can be fined between RM50,000 and RM500,000, jailed up to three years or both.

For the fourth and fifth charges, he was said to have been keeping a leopard tortoise (stigmochelys pardalis) and an Asian forest tortoise (manouria emys) also without a special permit.

For that charge he faces a fine up to RM50,000 for each offence, jail up to three years or both, upon conviction.

In the sixth and seventh charges, he was charged with keeping a red-eared slider (trachemys scripta elegans) and a yellow-bellied slider (trachemys scripta scripta) without a special permit.

He faces a fine of up to RM50,000 for each offence, jail of up to three years or both, upon conviction.

Wildlife and National Parks Department (Perhilitan) prosecuting officer Mohd Khairul Mubin Ab Satar proposed bail at RM10,000 in one surety for all charges with his passport to be surrendered to the court.

Wong’s counsel Alvin Tan Keng Yi asked the court to allow his client to surrender his passport only on April 14, two days after his return from a pre-planned trip on April 1.

Judge Azrul Darus allowed the request.

He fixed bail at RM30,000 for all charges in one surety and ordered the accused to report to the nearest police station once every month.

The judge set May 12 for next mention.

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