Man Convicted for Real 'Snakes on a Plane'

Posted Sep 8th 2010 09:44 AMUpdated Sep 9th 2010 10:26 AM

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A notorious wildlife smuggler, known as the "Lizard King," has been sentenced to six months in prison in Malaysia after being nabbed smuggling 95 live boa constrictors in his luggage.

Anson Wong, 52, a Malaysian national, pleased guilty to wildlife smuggling, and was also fined about $60,000.

The live snakes were discovered at the airport in Kuala Lumpur when Wong's carry-on bag busted open on a luggage conveyor belt.

Wong had flown from Penang to Kuala Lumpur with the bag full of snakes – there were also two viper snakes and a turtle – and was connecting to a flight to Indonesia when he was caught.

Officials are investigating how Wong was able to get the snakes on the first flight.

Meanwhile, Malaysian prosecutors are appealing the sentence handed down this week, saying Wong should get a stiffer penalty to dissuade other would-be wildlife traffickers. The maximum jail term is seven years.

"We are disappointed. The sentence is too lenient for someone who is smuggling out protected species," prosecutor Abdul Majid Hamzah, told The Associated Press. "We cannot take this lightly as it reflects very badly on Malaysia."

Wong previously served jail time for wildlife trafficking of reptiles in the U.S., authorities say.



Photo, todbaker, flickr
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