Engineer pleads guilty to keeping protected wildlife at home

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KAJANG, Feb 8 — An engineer, whose hobby is to keep various types of animals at his home, including a tiger and crocodile, pleaded guilty in the Sessions Court, here, today to nine counts of possessing protected wildlife species.

Mohd Taha Abd Wahab, 51, changed his plea to guilty after the charges were read out to him before judge Noridah Adam, and the court fixed Feb 16 for sentencing, pending the facts of the case.

On Nov 30, the father of four pleaded not guilty to all nine counts.

Wildlife Department DPP Ainul Mardiyah Mohd Ali appeared for the prosecution, while the accused was represented by counsel Zaflee Pakwanteh.

When met by reporters, Zaflee said his client was an animal lover, and he kept the animals at his bungalow with good care.

“It’s my client’s hobby. His mistake was not having a licence. He is not trading in animals, he is an animal lover. He is suffering from heart disease, keeping animals is like therapy for him,” he said.

For the first and second counts, the accused was charged with keeping a female tiger and a leopard cat at his house in Batu 13 3/4, Jalan Sekolah, Kampung Gahal Jaya, Hulu Langat, here, at 12.30pm on Oct 19, last year.

For the third to ninth counts, he was accused of keeping a red eagle, common green magpie, two Murai Jambul Putih birds, a Schneider’s Dwarf Caiman reptile, a mouse-deer, a common hill myna, and a Murai Batu at the same place and time.

All the animals are protected under the First Schedule of the Wildlife Conservation Act 2010 (Act 716).

On the count of keeping the tiger, the accused was charged under Section 70 (2) of the Wildlife Conservation Act (Act 716) which provides for a fine not exceeding RM500,000 and a jail term of up to five years, if convicted.

On the count of keeping the leopard cat, he was charged under Section 70(1) of the same Act, facing a fine of up to RM300,000 or a jail term of up to 10 years, or both, if convicted.

For another four counts, he was charged under Section 60(1)(a) of the same Act which carries a fine of up to RM50,000 or up to two years’ jail, or both.

For the remaining three counts, he was charged under Section 68(1)(a) of the same Act, which carries a fine of up RM100,000 or up to three years’ jail, or both. — Bernama

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