A Malaysian citizen was charged for trafficking over $725,000 worth of rhinoceros horns that involved illegal poaching.
The United States Department of Justice said Malaysian national Teo Boon Ching, his trafficking organization and the Malaysian firm Sunrise Greenland Sdn. Bhd. engaged in the “cruel trafficking of endangered and threatened wildlife and the product of brutal poaching.”
Ching specialized in the transportation of rhino horn, ivory, and pangolins from Africa, using routes through Malaysia and Laos to consumers in Vietnam and China.
“Teo Boon Ching is alleged to be the leader of a transnational criminal enterprise trafficking in rhinoceros horns, enriching poachers responsible for the senseless illegal slaughter of numerous endangered rhinoceros, and furthering the market for these illicit products,” said U.S. Attorney Damian Williams for the Southern District of New York. “The protection of endangered wildlife and the preservation of our natural resources is an important priority for this Office. Thanks to the tireless efforts of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, this defendant has been caught and brought to the United States to answer for his alleged crimes.”
Ching was charged for participating in a conspiracy to traffic in more than 70 kilograms of rhinoceros horns valued at more than $725,000 that involved the illegal poaching of numerous rhinoceros, an endangered wildlife species. In addition, Ching was charged with laundering the proceeds of his illegal rhinoceros horn sales.
International trade of rhino horns has been largely banned for decades or highly regulated. However, horns remain a highly valued commodity in certain countries. Today, there are only approximately 5,000 black rhinos remaining in the wild.
The United States Department of Justice worked with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, State Department and the government of Thailand to uncover the case.
“This extradition is a major success for wildlife and people,” said Assistant Director Edward J. Grace of the FWS Office of Law Enforcement. Thanks to our federal and international partners, this wildlife trafficker now will have his day in court. Wildlife traffickers run complex international criminal enterprises that require a multinational law enforcement effort to investigate, arrest and prosecute them for their crimes. I laud the efforts of our special agents, the U.S. Department of Justice, U.S. Department of State Office of Foreign Assets Control and especially the Royal Thai Police for their commitment in addressing this global problem that is pushing many species to extinction.”
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