Bruneians plead not guilty in clouded leopard case

National 1 minute, 9 seconds




TWO Bruneians accused of smuggling a young clouded leopard across the border into Sarawak last week will face trial in December after pleading not guilty to the offence yesterday.

No bail was granted by the Miri court to the defendants Mohd Khairul Abdullah and Abdul Rahim Taib due to the cross-border nature of the alleged crime. The trial has been set for December 5 and 6. According to court documents, the Sarawak Forestry Corporation, together with Malaysian police, raided a Brunei-registered SUV near Desa Senadin in Miri last Friday at 3pm.

The authorities found an animal, believed to be a clouded leopard, in a cage. The Bruneian pair failed to provide documents showing licence to hold the wild cat.

The offence of holding the protected animal falls under Section 37 of Malaysia’s Wild Life Protect Ordinance 1998, with a punishment of two years in jail and a fine of RM 25,000.

According to previous news reports, the sale of the clouded leopard was discovered online, leading to an undercover operation from the Sarawak side — apparently the first of its kind.

The seller, believed to be from Brunei, was selling the clouded leopard for around $5,000.

The capture of clouded leopards is also illegal in Brunei and is punishable under the country’s Wildlife Act with a fine of $2,000 and a year of imprisonment, while exporting — a separate offence — carries the same punishment.

The Brunei Times