Notorious wildlife smuggler Kunjok Chhiring Tamang. (Photo: CIB)
KATHMANDU: The Rasuwa District Court has sentenced Kunjok Chhiring Tamang, notorious for wildlife crime, to seven years in prison and a fine of Rs 1,00,000.
Kunjok Chiring Tamang, also known as Kunjok Lama, who was involved in major wildlife crime cases in Nepal and India, was lodged in Rasuwa District Jail following a district court order.
He was accused of being involved in the illegal trade of endangered wildlife, including tigers, leopards, and the skin and bones of oats.
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) of Nepal Police had arrested Kunjok from Kathmandu last June after years of investigation.
Shortly after his arrest, he claimed in the Rasuwa District Court, the Patan High Court, and the Supreme Court that Kunjok was not involved in the wildlife crime.
He reiterated the same claim in both the Rasuwa District Court’s remand trial and the final settlement of the case. Kunjok had filed a petition in the Patan High Court seeking a stay on the date after the Rasuwa District Court remanded him in custody for trial.
The high court also refused to release him. Kunjok then took a habeas corpus petition to the Supreme Court, claiming that he had been detained illegally.
However, Supreme Court Justices Ananda Mohan Bhattarai and Kumar Regmi also refused to release him.
After years of investigation, the CIB and two of its police officers who succeeded in apprehending Kunjok were awarded the United Nations Environment Programme’s (UNEP) Asia Environmental Enforcement
Award this year. A red corner notice was issued against Kunjok through Interpol.