Arip Samsudin, 42, made the plea before Judge Awang Kerisnada Awang Mahmud after the charge was read by the court interpreter.
The judge also ordered the accused to serve another nine months in jail if he failed to pay the fine.
"Looking at (the facts of) this case, the accused knew how to operate in this country. The accused also knew that the animal was in high demand. Regardless of whether the animal was caught in Indonesia or not, the accused has been charged to be in possession of an endangered species," he said, adding that Arip, who had entered the country illegally, should be deported to his country after serving the sentence.
The accused was charged with being in possession of four Tokey geckos - an endangered species listed under Part 1 of Schedule 2, number 73A of the Wildlife Conservation Enactment 1997 - without a valid permit at about 11 am, Feb 22, at a hotel room in Tawau City, here.
He was charged with committing the offense under Section 41 (2) of the Wildlife Conservation Enactment 1997, punishable under Section 41 (4) (b) of the enactment with a fine not less than RM30,000 and not more than RM100,000, or imprisonment for a period of not less than six months and no more than five years, or both.
Earlier, Arip told the court that the lizard was found in Indonesia and brought in to Tawau, Sabah, as there was a high demand for the reptile which was sold at RM200 each.
Admitting his mistake, the accused pleaded for the court mete out a lighter sentence as his wife in Indonesia had just given birth to their sixth child.
The prosecution was handled by the Sabah Wildlife Department's (SWD) prosecutor Abdul Karim Dakog.
Meanwhile, all the four geckos measuring between 15 to 16 cm were released into a forest reserve by the SWD on April 7 after obtaining a court order.