This has to be a case of taking a dim view of justice, where the judgment is too stuck in technicality. The notorious Anson Wong was freed by the Appeal Court. The judges reasoned that the earlier harsh judgment of 5 years worth of imprisonment did not take into account Wong’s guilty plead, the fact that this was Wong’s first offense and the previous judges took into account irrelevant material.

Consider this. Back in 2000, Wong was arrested in the US and sentenced to 71 months of imprisonment for wildlife smuggling. So, first offense Mr. Judge? Really? Yes, first offense in Malaysia but definitely not the first offense if the judge had taken a wider view. Wong is really an unrepentant smuggler. Did the appeal judges take that into account?

As for the guilty plead, the incentive system is perverse. If you know the evidence are mounting against you, and you know that a guilty plead would lessen your sentence, what would be the best course of action? It does not take an economist specializing in game theory to answer that. I am sure Anson Wong knows this. Back in the US, he pleaded guilty exactly because he knew was in it for. Back in 2010 in Malaysia, he knew he was in it for Malaysia. Yet, the appeal judges decided that a 5-year jail sentence is excessive.

Finally, the appeal judges said the earlier harsh judgment took into account irrelevant evidence and sentiment. Did the appeal judges take into account the pillar that Wong is to the illegal wildlife trade industry? His notoriety? His suspicious good ties with wildlife authority in Malaysia?

Why did not the judges take that into account?

This is the Malaysian legal system. It is an outrageous system.

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