Respecting Animals, Wildlife and The Return of Malaysia’s Lizard King

In one of the first few pages of Lawrence Anthony‘s “The Last Rhinos”, you get a statement that “The Author condemns past and present governments of”…a few countries are named, one of them being Malaysia. I’m not sure why but somehow here in Malaysia, there seems to be very poor understanding on the basic rights of animals. An article published by The Star today talking about Malaysia’s worst animal cruelty scandals for 2013. (

I mean, to be honest, such a list should not even exist in any country these days. But sadly, you have it here in Malaysia. A good documentary by Al Jazeera called “The Return of the Lizard King” exposes Anson Wong, a convicted wildlife smuggler and a fellow Malaysian.

And almost unexpectedly, the The Natural Resources and Environment Ministry comes up with a rebuttal piece in the news the next day stating “is concerned with the documentary on Al Jazeera’s 101 East programme called The Return of the Lizard King.”

An excerpt from Al-Jazeera:

For more than two decades, Anson Wong has been the internationally recognised “face” of the trade; the ‘Pablo Escobar’ of animal trafficking, according to some. The Malaysian’s notoriety stems from 1998 when he was arrested by US agents after they lured him to Mexico in a highly elaborate five-year investigation that became a best-selling book, The Lizard King. He was later convicted for smuggling endangered species and sentenced to 71 months in prison.

When Wong returned to Malaysia, his permits reportedly revoked, and many suspected he had returned to the business. In 2010, those fears were confirmed when Wong’s bag broke open while he was in transit to Jakarta to reveal 95 boa constrictors.

Initially sentenced to five years in jail, his term was cut to 17 months on appeal and Wong was released in February 2012, despite evidence of his involvement in other smuggling cases.

Once again, he is back home in Penang, Malaysia. And once again, the Malaysian authorities say his permits have been revoked. Since getting out of prison, new reports have surfaced of his return to the illegal wildlife trade.

101 East goes undercover from Madagascar, to Thailand, to Indonesia and to Malaysia in an attempt to follow the trafficking trail and to infiltrate Wong’s syndicate.

You can watch the full documentary below:

Hopefully people will learn to start respecting and loving animals. I just hate the statements that some people make, “Oh, animals are placed there by God for us to eat them.” Are you for real?

Kugan Kumar

V.Kugantharan is the founder of Joy With Music, where he teaches adults and kids the joys of playing the piano. He also runs a web design agency, 504 Studios. A father of a very "opinionated" four-year-old, he divides his time between his passions -- blogging, reading, music, design and books.

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