2 Cambodians found with wildlife body parts jailed 26 months each

The two, among others, had feathers of the Kuang Raya bird, meat of the Bornean bearded pigs and fangs of the porcupine.

SEGAMAT: Two Cambodians were jailed 26 months each by the Sessions Court here for having the body parts of protected wildlife in the middle of last month.

Sessions Court judge Rasidah Roslee imposed the jail sentences on Some Doeun, 47, and Chantha Sambath, 49, after they pleaded guilty to three charges, which were read out to them in Khmer.

According to the first charge, on Oct 16, Doeun and Sambath were found to have in their possession the feathers of the Kuang Raya bird (Argusianus argus), which is a fully-protected wildlife species under the Second Schedule of the Wildlife Conservation Act 2010 (Act 716), without a special permit.

For the second and third charges, they were charged with keeping the meat of three Bornean bearded pigs (Sus Barbatus), which was also a fully protected wildlife, and the fangs of the Malayan Porcupine (Hystrix brachyura), which was listed as a wildlife species, protected in the Second Schedule of the act, without a licence.

All the offences were perpetrated in the Endau-Rompin Selai (Johor) National Park in the Labis district here on Oct 16 at about 8.30am.

As a result, they were charged under Section 68(2)(b) Wildlife Conservation Act 2010 (Act 716), which provided a fine of not less than RM30,000 and not exceeding RM100,000 and jail of not more than two years.

The prosecutions were also made under Section 60(1)(b) of the same act, which provided a fine not exceeding RM100,000 or jail not exceeding three years or both, and Section 68(1)(b) of the same act, which provided a fine not exceeding RM50,000 or jail not exceeding two years or both.

In her decision, Rasidah explained the aptness of the punishment, taking into account that protected wildlife were now becoming extinct due to criminal acts of humans.

She said the situation invited fear that the coming generations would not be able to know such wildlife.

The prosecution was carried out by Johor Wildlife Department’s prosecution officer Mohd Saiful Mohd Zin.

Earlier, Doeun pleaded guilty to three charges in the Magistrate’s Court under the National Parks (Johor) Corporation Enactment 1989 for having an axe and parang, damaging and burning undergrowth, entering without a permit, and one charge under the Immigration Act 1959/1963 for overstaying.

He was jailed three months for each offence under the National Parks (Johor) Corporation Enactment 1989 and 12 months for the immigration offence.

Sambath also pleaded guilty to two charges of having an axe and parang, entering the park without a permit under the same enactment and flouting Section 6(1)(c) of the Immigration Act 1959/63 for entering the country without any permit.

He was jailed three months for each offence under the enactment and 12 months for the immigration offence.

The case, which was handled by deputy public prosecutor Siti Zubaidah Helmaterliti, was the first since the Johor National Park was set up 27 years ago.

Both the accused were not represented by counsel.