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Victoria Police Corruption
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Reviewed by Geoff. Muirden, Secretary.
Australian Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)

BOOK REVIEW Originally published in The Strategy, October 1996, Page 5.

Smuggled-2: Wildlife Trafficking And Corruption in Australia, by Raymond Hoser.

This book is DYNAMITE! It blows the lid off the rackets operating in the wildlife smuggling industry in Australia and abroad, and exposes many top names, both inside and outside the NSW National Parks & Wildlife Service (N.P.W.S.)and other groups connected with corrupt activities, including (but not limited to) promoting smuggling, conducting A book you should not miss!!!Rambo-style raids on persons said to possess animals without licenses, protecting smugglings; phone tapping, mail interception, and handling the truth very loosely when it suits them to protect their interests, while breaking laws with impunity.

It is thoroughly researched, naming names and detailing dates of incidents that constitute a shocking indictment of the wildlife smuggling industry, aided and abetted by some officials within wildlife agencies supposed to prevent it happening.

With friends like this, who needs enemies?


Not all officials within agencies such as the NPWS, Taronga Park Zoo and Melbourne Zoo, Conservation and Land Management (C.A.L.M.) in W.A., to mention but a few organisations treated in Smuggled-2, are morally reprehensible. Some are honest and reputable individuals, but they seem unable to stop the suppression of whistleblowers within their own departments, such as Clive Bennett and Ken Blade, whose efforts against corruption were stymied, as documented in this book. It is the common experience of whistleblowers to be vilified, harassed, sued and even sometimes murdered.


Raymond Hoser's original book, Smuggled: The Underground Trade in Australia's Wildlife, was illegally banned by the NSW NPWS, and they will no doubt also take exception to Smuggled 2, with updated and more extensive evidence against it and other wildlife "conservation" groups.


Not content with other dirty tricks, Hoser claims that some active whistleblowers have been killed, and that some individuals have accused NPWS officials of being involved. NPWS officials are accused of trying to block proper enquiries into the deaths (pp. 53-53;7879); others' lives were threatened (pp. 79-80)


Where serious allegations, heavily documented, against NSW NPWS were made to Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) by Clive Bennett, nothing was done by ICAC (pp. 55-56).

The explanation was familiar to one who has read Raymond Hoser's other book, "The Hoser Files" reviewed earlier in The Strategy, May, 1996 edition. The allegations were against police and the police were administering the ICAC, so they defended their own.(p.56) just as takes place in the Internal Investigation Department (IID) of Victoria Police, now being whitewashed by piously renaming itself the Ethical Standards Department (ESD).


I have one disagreement with Raymond. He mentions the "feral cat menace" (p. 167) with apparent approval, whereas Dave Richards, writing in "Cat Wars", Independent Monthly, May, 1996, shows these 'feral cat' figures have been exaggerated for political reasons.


Although most of the book is devoted to activities in Australia, there are sections on other countries, notably Africa, where the smuggling situation is worse, and Chapter 18 concerns mainly conditions in the United States and United Kingdom.


The bottom line is that it's not just the wildlife bureaucracy that's corrupt, so it the entire public service system, which uses similar bully boy tactics and dirty tricks. As a former employee of the Victorian Education Department, I saw plenty of evidence of backstabbing, treachery, and dirty tricks as Standard Operating Procedure, and often one's 'colleagues' were the worst enemy, but the malaise affects most of the government bureaucracy.


As Hoser says, the bureaucracy won't reform itself, any reform can only come from outside, with reforming politicians (such as Graeme Campbell's Australia First Party?), public reporting on the extent of abuses, and legalising many import/export laws to ease the basis for bully boy tactics.


Smuggled-2, Wildlife Trafficking and Corruption In Australia by Raymond Hoser, published by Kotabi Pty Ltd., PO Box 599, Doncaster, Vic, 3108. Cost $27.50 and $5 postage. 280 pp. paperback

Smuggled-2: Wildlife Trafficking, Crime and Corruption in Australia, by Raymond Hoser. 1996. Kotabi Publications (P.O. Box 599, Doncaster, Victoria 3108, Australia). xx+259 pp. Paperback. AUS $25.00 (approx. US $22.00)(and postage of $5). ISBN 0-958676909.

Department of Evolution. Systematics and Ecology
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, 91904 Jerusalem, Israel
(Originally published in Herpetological Review, 28(3), 166-167, 1997).

Reptiles are relatively hardy in transportation. Only half a century ago, before the global rise of conservation and decline of postal services, it was normal to exchange live reptiles by international mail, not necessarily airmail. Now two modern processes are both countering and stimulating each other. On the one hand, most countries restrict collecting and exporting; on the other hand, herpetoculture is spreading. The blooming amateur market annually cycles millions of dollars in the United States alone. Some of its global volume in terms of herpetofauna has been reviewed for 1980-1985 by Luxmoore et al. (1988). This market, with its appetite for rarities, has stimulated, besides more positive results, the related phenomena of illegal collecting, trading, and smuggling, all of which are facilitated by the portability of reptiles.

Bureaucratic systems of licensing and inspecting have mushroomed almost everywhere. The mix of extensive legislation, haughty authority, insatiable desires, and ample money has generated its natural parasitic fauna of high-handedness, fanatic enforcement, corruption, and bribery-in some countries more than in others. It must have come as a shock to many readers of "Smuggled" (Hoser 1993; reviewed by Werner 1995), when Australia, celebrity of nature protection, was exposed by Raymond Hoser as a focus of negativity. It transpired that not only was smuggling of the endemic protected fauna rampant but many officials of governmental nature conservation agencies found a variety of ways to personally gain from it. Not merely bribery but perjury, violence, robbery, and even murder crowd the pages of "Smuggled" and make it a suspense story.

"Smuggled-2" is a sequel and like many a sequel is somewhat weaker than the initial book, perhaps mainly because the surprise element has dimmed. Still, it is compellingly interesting.

The twenty chapters may be seen as five clusters, each of which doubles as a separate appendix to "Smuggled." (I) Prefaces by others and chapters 1-3 depict the author's fight for legitimate (rather than illegal) conservation (especially in Australia), culminating in his "Smuggled," and the illegal war which aggrieved officials tried to wage against writing, publishing, and circulating the book. (II) Chapters 4-5 update the reader on the progress of inquiries into wildlife smuggling and related corruption, originally reported in "Smuggled." (III) Chapters 6-15 bring a deluge, in quantity and variety, of conservation-related crimes in Australia, often with the involvement of officials. Mixed in are some occurrences of possibly less criminal incompetent bungling of conservation authorities. Some of the contents is fresh, having occurred after the publication of "Smuggled." Other cases actually had occurred earlier, and it was the reading of "Smuggled" that stimulated witnesses to speak up. (IV) Chapters 16-17 widen the scope to encompass wildlife poaching in Africa and the astonishing Madagascar fiasco (March 1993), when police shot four visiting herpetologists, already prostrate by order, crippling the well-known F. J. Obst. (V) Chapters 18-19 consider prospects for the future, including the potential of captive breeding for saving species. There is no index.

The bibliographies of published and unpublished source materials (Chapter 20; 29 pages), are intended to testify to every word in the book. Unfortunately the sources are not numbered and usually the text does not guide the reader to them. Still, everything appears to be true, because otherwise even in the most liberal of countries, no author could retain impunity, shooting such barrages of accusations at officialdom. In fact, Hoser's very ability to speak up (despite being harassed for this) attests to the basic rectitude of the country, so many of whose emissaries are shown to be wrong doers.

The text is enriched with some 125 black-and-white photographs. These are not numbered and don't shine on the dull paper but they are fully explained and materially help in conveying the message. Most of the figures fall into one of four classes: "Good guys" (27 persons fighting corruption, innocent victims of corruption, etc.); "bad guys" ( 26 corrupt or allegedly corrupt nature inspectors and politicians, etc.); problematic animals and plants and equipment for smuggling them (39 figures); documents (24 newspaper clippings, letters to or from authorities, etc.).

Hoser fights on behalf of the animals and the lovers of animals, both against mercenary exploiters of fauna and flora and against fanatic or corrupt conservation-bureaucrats. I share his attitude that this is a war of light against dark. But I think that sometimes the light dazzles him. For example, he seems to imply that some confiscated animals should have been released into the wild. which is controversial in terms of population genetics and long-term effects. He assaults with a fervour that scorns the careful use of commas, apostrophes, and sometimes prepositions.

But all in all, assuming you are interested in conservation, if you have read "Smuggled" you will probably want this follow-up; if you have not read "Smuggled," then reading at least Smuggled-2 is a must.

Literature Cited

Hoser, R. 1993. Smuggled: The Underground Trade in Australia's Wildlife. Kotabi Publications, Doncaster, Victoria. xii+ 149 pp.
Luxmoore, R., B. Groombridge, and S. Broad (EDS.). 1988. Significant trade in wildlife: A review of selected species in CITES Appendix II. International Union for Conservation of Nature.
Werner, Y. L. 1995. A personal review of Smuggled, by Raymond Hoser. 1993. British Herpetological Society Bulletin. 54:42-43.




Raymond Hoser has been an active herpetologist/Zoologist and investigative author for about 30 years and published over 100 papers in journals worldwide. He has written seven books including the definitive works "Australian Reptiles and Frogs", "Endangered Animals of Australia" and the controversial best seller "Smuggled - The Underground Trade in Australia's Wildlife".

Banned Australian Websites - Illegal Police activities, Political corruption, etc.

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Papers about reptiles and frogs - over 150 papers that can be downloaded.

Australian Reptiles and Frogs - The Definitive book on the subject.

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