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Cablegate: First Conviction of Tiger Trafficker in North Sumatra

VZCZCXRO0691
PP RUEHCHI RUEHCN RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHJA #2097 3190429
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 140429Z NOV 08
FM AMEMBASSY JAKARTA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0643
INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHINGTON DC
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO 2726
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 5614
RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 3289
RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL 5128
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC

UNCLAS JAKARTA 002097

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR OES/ENRC, EAP/MTS, EAP/RSP
DEPARTMENT PLEASE PASS AID
USAID FOR ANE, EGAT
BANGKOK FOR RDM/A

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: SENV EAID ECON PGOV ID
SUBJECT: FIRST CONVICTION OF TIGER TRAFFICKER IN NORTH SUMATRA

REF: JAKARTA 1136

1. Summary. A trafficker arrested in June 2008 and charged with
trafficking two endangered Sumatran tiger cubs was sentenced to 2
years and 10 months in prison and a fine of IDR 1 million ($100) by
the district court in Medan on November 4. The case represents the
first time that an animal trafficker was convicted and sentenced in
Medan, North Sumatra, long known as a gateway city for trafficking
in illegal wildlife. Despite the relatively light penalty,
conservation NGOs and local authorities involved in the arrest are
encouraged by the conviction and sentence. Several other
prosecutions of Sumatran tiger traffickers are pending in Medan. End
Summary.

2. In June of 2008 provincial North Sumatran Natural Resource
Conservation Agency (BKSDA) authorities used a successful undercover
operation in conjunction with police to arrest a wildlife trafficker
attempting to sell two Sumatran tiger cubs for IDR 15 million
($1500) each near the provincial capital of Medan (reftel). The
tiger cubs are suspected by BKSDA to have been trafficked from
inside Gunung Leuseur National Park in northern Sumatra. Tips from
locals helped BKSDA identify the trafficker and set up the sting
operation.

3. This represents the first prosecution and conviction of a tiger
trafficker in North Sumatra. Prosecutors initially asked for a 3
year sentence. The trafficker, Denti Halawa (31), was sentenced to 2
years and 10 months with a fine of IDR 1 million ($100). BKSDA
officials, while welcoming the verdict, noted that in a previous
case for trafficking involving a scaly anteater, an IDR 5 million
($500) fine was levied and that the fine should be comparable to the
market price of the animals to be trafficked. In a press release on
the case, the Wildlife Conservation Society of Indonesia (WCS) and
BKSA said that they believed the verdict would help deter future
trafficking. The local NGO Forum Harimau Kita (Forum for Our Tigers)
added that Medan was a known gateway for animal smuggling and the
center of the illegal wildlife trade for Sumatran tigers. While
welcoming the prosecution and the efforts of local officials, Forum
Harimau Kita called for increased efforts to eliminate the illegal
wildlife market in Medan. According to BKSA there are currently two
additional ongoing police investigations against tiger traffickers
in North Sumatra.

HUME

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