Wildlife dealer Anson Wong detained in Malaysia after officials find 98 live reptiles in his luggage.
Wong Keng Liang, known as Anson Wong, has been detained by the Malaysian Department of Wildlife and National Parks. Wong was traveling from Penang, Malaysia, to Jakarta, Indonesia, when his luggage broke at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport. Inside, authorities found 95 boa contrictors (Boa constrictor), two rhinoceros vipers (Bitis nasicornis) and one mata mata turtle (Chelus fimbriatus).
The boa constrictor is protected by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), and its trade is subject to regulation or in some cases is completely banned.
According to news sources, Wong will be held until August 31 to facilitate investigations, and he could face up to seven years in prison if found guilty under Malaysian law.
Wong has previously been convicted of wildlife trafficking in the United States, where he was sentenced to 71 months in prison in 2001. An undercover unit of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service spent five years tracking Wong and building a case, which led to his 1998 arrest at Mexico City International Airport and later his extradition to the U.S.
Wong was featured in Bryan Christy's book, The Lizard King, which details the story of former reptile-smuggler Mike Van Nostrand. Wong is considered a prominent figure in the live reptile trade out of Southeast Asia.