Malaysian man extradited to US for wildlife trafficking and money laundering


Teo was charged with participating in a conspiracy to traffic more than 70 kg of rhino horn worth more than $725,000, according to a statement from the US Department of Justice. —Photo Reuters

Sunday, October 09, 2022 11:54 AM MYT

KUALA LUMPUR, October 9 – The United States (US) has extradited suspected Malaysian wildlife trafficker Teo Boon Ching for illegal wildlife coin operations and money laundering.

Teo, 57, was charged with taking part in a conspiracy to traffic over 70 kg of rhino horn worth over US$725,000 (RM3.3 million), according to a statement from the US Department of Justice.

Additionally, Teo (with a title Datuk Seri) has been charged with laundering the proceeds of his illegal rhino horn sales, he added.

“Teo has been charged with one count of conspiracy to commit wildlife trafficking, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison, and two counts of money laundering, which carries a maximum sentence. 20 years in prison,” the statement said.

Teo was arrested in Thailand on June 29 “at the request of the United States pursuant to our bilateral extradition treaty”, he added.

He was extradited to the United States on Friday October 7 to face his charges.

Earlier Friday, Teo and its associated entities were sanctioned by the US Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC).

The statement said Teo was the leader of a transnational criminal enterprise – “the Enterprise” – based in Asia with significant operations in Malaysia and Thailand, which engaged in the large-scale international trafficking and smuggling of deer horns. rhinos resulting from the poaching of many endangered rhinos. .

“Ching (Teo) served as a specialist smuggler, transporting rhino horn from rhino poaching operations primarily in Africa to prospective customers primarily in Asia. He also claimed to be able to ship rhino horns to the United States,” the statement read. — Bernama

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