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Malaysian court frees wildlife smuggler "lizard king"

(Xinhua)

10:10, February 23, 2012

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb. 23 (Xinhua) -- A Malaysian court of appeal on Wednesday freed wildlife trafficker Anson Wong who tried to smuggle boa constrictors, overturning a lower court's decision by reducing his jail sentence.

The 53-year-old wildlife smuggler, also known as the "Lizard King", had pleaded guilty in September 2010 for trying to smuggle 95 endangered boa constrictors to Jakarta on August 26, 2010.

The three-member panel of judges reduced Wong's jail term from five years to 17 months and 15 days.

The panel, chaired by justice Low Hop Bing, ordered Wong's imprisonment to be served from September 2010 and his immediate release after finding flaws in the charges against Wong.

Wong was initially sentenced to six months behind bars in 2010 by a magistrate court.

But the verdict was overruled by a high court which enhanced the jail term to five years, allowing the prosecutor's bid for a heavier sentence against the convicted smuggler.

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