Last week, in Port Klang, Malaysia, the Wildlife Justice Commission supported the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) in an operation targeting corrupt customs and other members of an international wildlife trafficking network with the support of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Thailand. The syndicate is believed to have bribed law enforcement officers (customs officers and freight forwarders) to allow them to take wildlife contraband meant for disposal from a Customs Department warehouse and sell them after faking its destruction. The syndicate is also believed to be involved in money laundering.
11 male suspects, including 2 customs officers, have been arrested and are currently being questioned. Approximately 1.8 tonnes of pangolin scales have been seized so far as well as several luxury vehicles with an estimated value of over 5 million USD.
The Wildlife Justice Commission acknowledges MACC’s dedication to rooting out corruption and its quick response to time-sensitive intelligence.
This timely operation came on the heels of our new report published last week, Dirty Money: The Role of Corruption in Enabling Wildlife Crime”, which highlights the role of corruption as one of the most important enabling factors behind wildlife crime. This operation showcased the international cooperation that is essential to root out those in the private and public sectors who are engaging in corrupt practices that facilitate these crimes.