KOTA KINABALU: At the appeal’s hearing at the High Court here yesterday, a 22-year-old man was given the maximum three years jail and a hefty RM25,000 fine for smuggling 12 pangolins.
Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak, Tan Sri Richard Malanjum, delivered the sentence on Calvin Cher Ja Wei during the latter’s appeal hearing at the High Court here yesterday.
Deputy public prosecutor, Luke Ressa Balang, the appellant in the case, applied for an enhanced sentence, as Calvin had been fined RM10,000 in default one year imprisonment.
Counsel Nelson Anggang, who defended Calvin, said his client, had come to Sabah to look for a job and became a transporter, and added that it was Calvin’s friends who were the masterminds.
Calvin then informed the court of an individual named “Lim Wan Heng”, his friend whom he claimed was also with him when he was arrested. However, when Lim’s number was given to the court and the court attempted to contact him, there was no one answering.
In his judgement, Chief Judge Tan Sri Richard Malanjum, stated that the case was rare one in that a wildlife offender was caught. He further added that there had been much discussion about wildlife protection, though no one seems to believe that the authorities were serious in protecting wildlife.
He also stated that it was unfortunate that the legislation was too lenient, adding that he hoped that the relevant authorities would review the laws so as to deter would be offenders.
A fine of RM10,000 which was imposed by the Magistrate was grossly inadequate, hence he would impose the maximum term of imprisonment as provided under the law.
Calvin had been detained at Beaufort Town with 12 pangolins, 10 of which had died.
The offence falls under Section 41 of the Wildlife Preservation Enactment, which provides for a maximum fine of RM30,000, a prison term not exceeding three years or both.