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Malaysia makes record seizure of endangered pangolins | Malaysia News





Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – Malaysian authorities have busted a pangolin trafficking ring in the Borneo state of Sabah, recording the country’s biggest-ever haul of pangolin and pangolin products, according to conservationists and police.

The Sabah Wildlife Department last week raided a Kota Kinabalu factory and a nearby warehouse, uncovering a syndicate that was dealing in about 29.8 metric tonnes of pangolin, a small anteater that is covered in hard scales and is native to Africa and Asia.

The haul included about 1,800 boxes of frozen pangolins in three refrigerated containers, 572 more pangolins that were frozen and stored in six freezers, 61 live pangolins in cages as well as one in a car boot, and 361kg of pangolin scales. Two bear paws and the carcasses of four flying foxes were also found.

Local police arrested a 35-year-old man, believed to be the factory manager, who had led officers to the site, wildlife trade monitoring group TRAFFIC said on Tuesday, citing a statement from Sabah police.

A Malaysian Customs official holds pangolin scales that were seized at the Kuala Lumpur airport in 2017 [Vincent Thian/AP Photo]

Trade in the world’s eight species of pangolin is completely banned under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species.

Still, demand for the animal’s scales, which, like human nails, are made of keratin, is feeding the illegal trade and has made the secretive and shy creature the world’s most trafficked animal.

Police believe the Sabah factory had been operating for about seven years and the pangolins had originated locally.

“It is hoped that comprehensive investigations can lead to unmasking the syndicate and networks operating from the state and beyond,” Kanitha Krashnasamy, TRAFFIC’s Southeast Asia director, said in a statement.

The group said the discovery on February 7 showed how poaching, demand and illegal trade at the local level remained a persistent threat to the Sunda Pangolin, which is Malaysia‘s only native pangolin species and critically endangered.


Sabah has its own wildlife legislation and designated the pangolin a totally protected animal in 2016.

Under that law, the illegal possession of a totally protected species carries a fine of as much as RM250,000 ($60,000) and a maximum jail term of five years.

Sabah has emerged as a transit point for the illegal trade of pangolin scales between Africa and Asia in recent years, after large seizures in 2017. China and Vietnam are the two major illegal markets for the mammal’s scales.

Including the latest bust, Sabah has been implicated in more than 40 tonnes of pangolin smuggling since August 2017, including 13 tonnes of African pangolin scales, TRAFFIC said.

Previous studies from TRAFFIC in collaboration with researchers at Adelaide University have shown that at least 20 tonnes of pangolins and their parts are trafficked internationally every year, through an average of 27 new routes annually.


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Ottawa announces new funding to combat online child abuse





Ottawa has announced $22 million in funding to fight online child abuse.

Noting that police-reported incidents of child pornography in Canada increased by 288 per cent between 2010 and 2017, Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale made the announcement Tuesday.

It follows a London meeting last week that focused on the exploitation of children between Goodale and his counterparts from the United States, Britain, Australia and New Zealand, collectively known as the Five Eyes intelligence group.

Major internet companies, including Facebook, Google and Microsoft, were also at the meeting and agreed to a set of rules the members of the group proposed to remove child pornography from the internet quicker.

On Tuesday, Goodale warned internet companies they had to be better, faster and more open when in comes to fighting child abuse on line.

In this Friday, Jan. 12, 2018 photo, detectives use the Cellebrite system to extract information from cellphones at the State Police facility in Hamilton Township, N.J. “Operation Safety Net,” the results of which were announced in December, netted 79 people suspected of exploiting children. (Thomas P. Costello/Asbury Park Press/Canadian Press)

“If human harm is done, if a child is terrorized for the rest of their life because of what happened to them on the internet, if there are other damages and costs, then maybe the platform that made that possible should bear the financial consequences,” Goodale said.

The government plan includes $2.1 million to intensify engagement with digital industry to develop new tools online and support effective operating principles, $4.9 million for research, public engagement, awareness and collaboration with non-governmental organizations and $15.25 million to internet child exploitation units in provincial and municipal police forces across the country.

Goodale said the strategy recognizes that technology is “increasingly facilitating the easy borderless access to vast volumes of abhorrent images.”

That, he said, makes investigations increasingly complex,

“This is a race where the course is always getting longer and more complicated and advancing into brand new areas that hadn’t been anticipated five years ago or a year ago or even a week ago,” Goodale said.

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Gas prices expected to dip in Ottawa





If you can wait an extra day to fill up the gas tank, your bank account might thank you.

Roger McKnight of Enpro is predicting a five cent dip in gas prices Wednesday night at midnight.

This comes after a four cent drop this past Friday, just ahead of the August long weekend.

McKnight said the reason for the drop, both last week and this week, is due to comments made by US President Donald Trump. 

He says after the drop, the price will be, on average, 118.9 cents/litre in the Ottawa region.

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Oka asks Ottawa to freeze Mohawk land deal, send RCMP to Kanesatake





The town of Oka is asking the federal and provincial governments to slap a moratorium on a proposed land grant to the local Mohawk community in Kanesatake and to establish an RCMP detachment on the First Nations territory to deal with illegal cannabis sales outlets.

The requests were contained in two resolutions adopted Tuesday night by the Oka town council.

The administration of Oka Mayor Pascal Quevillon held its first public meeting since the start of the controversy that pitted the town council against the Kanesatake band council over a decision by a local promoter to give local lands to the Mohawk community.

The three resolutions are addressed to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government, Quebec Premier François Legault’s government and the Kanesatake band council led by Grand Chief Serge Otsi Simon.

As each resolution was read into the record, Quevillon stressed that the town of Oka was only looking to live in peaceful cohabitation with the Mohawk community.

The town also called upon Ottawa to establish a consultation process that would take into account the concerns of residents in Oka and  Kanesatake.

Quevillon’s administration also wants access to the plans detailing what lands are at the centre of negotiations between the federal government and the Mohawk community for purchase, suggesting the talks are simply a disguised form of expropriation.

“They’re giving money to (the Mohawks) to buy our land and annex it to their territory,” Quevillon said.

Despite its demands, the Oka council adopted an official statement addressed to the Kanesatake band council saying the town’s population wanted dialogue and peaceful cohabitation, with Quevillon citing the 300 years of close links between the two communities.

During the council meeting’s question period, some residents suggested that the council deal with other groups that say they are speaking for Kanesatake, including Mohawk traditionalists. Mayor Quevillon replied that the town would only deal with the band council and did so out of respect for Grand Chief Simon.

The mayor also argued that the RCMP, a federal police force, was best suited to be deployed in Kanesatake, where it would ensure the law would be respected, particularly on the issue of illegal cannabis shops.

Quevillon contended such a deployment was the only way for both communities to work together toward their mutual economic development.

Meanwhile, the apology Grand Chief Simon has said he is expecting from Quevillon for remarks he made earlier this summer about the Mohawk community in Kanesatake does not appear to be coming any time soon.

Asked by a resident if he would apologize, Quevillon left the answer to those citizens who attended the meeting, the vast majority of whom replied, “no.”

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