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RM25,000 fine for keeping two live pangolins

20th June, 2019

KOTA KINABALU: A self employed man who possessed two live pangolins was fined RM25,000 in default three months’ jail by the Sessions Court here.

Judge Elsie Primus handed the sentence on Choo Yau Hock, 58, who maintained his plea of guilt when the case was up for facts and sentencing yesterday.

He admitted to having the pangolins of the Manis Javanica’s species without legal consent at a house in Jalan Mawas, Taman Foh Sang, Luyang on February 28, 2017 at 4.10pm.

The pangolins are listed under Schedule Two, Part One, Number 14 of the Wildlife Conservation Enactment 1997. The offence comes under Section 40 of the Wildlife Conservation Enactment 1997 and punishable under Section 40(3) of the same Enactment, which carries a maximum fine of RM50,000 or a jail term of up to two years or both.

Earlier, Prosecuting Officer Abdul Karim Dakog of the Wildlife Department explained to the court about the amended charge against the accused which was attained through plea bargaining between the counsel and the prosecution. He said that the charge could be amended with reason that the offence was committed before pangolins were listed under Schedule One of the Wildlife Conservation Enactment 1997 since September 2017.

Therefore, the prosecution proposed a fine of RM25,000 in accordance with the plea bargaining.

Throughout the proceedings, the court heard that prior to the incident the Wildlife enforcement personnel had gone to the said house after being informed by the public pertaining to the possession of protected animals.

Upon checking, they found two live pangolins inside a plastic bag which was hidden in a black water tank behind the house.

Further investigation revealed that the accused had no valid document over the possession of the pangolins. The animals were later confiscated while the accused was apprehended for further investigation

In seeking for leniency, the accused, who was defended by counsel Luke Ressa Balang, said that he was a first-time offender and was remorseful of his actions.

Luke also highlighted to the court of the accused’s old age and is responsible of taking care of his wife and two children, aged 10 and 14.

He added that his client had given full cooperation throughout the investigation since 2017 and the accused had attended court proceedings after he was charged this year. – NEDM

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