Four men jailed for wildlife trafficking

May 15, 2020 | 02:30 am PT
Four men jailed for wildlife trafficking
A pangolin is released into natural environment at Cuc Phuong National Park in Ninh Binh Province, northern Vietnam, 2016. Photo courtesy of Save Vietnam's Wildlife.
A court in Ca Mau Province on Thursday sentenced four men belonging to a wildlife trafficking gang to two to 13 years in jail.

Tran Quy, director of Hai Dang Company, which registered as a tourism agency, the kingpin of the ring, got 13 years.

Nguyen Hai Nam was sentenced to 12 years and Le Viet Linh to 10 years while Ngo Vu Lam got two years.

In January 2018, border troops found Dang’s company transporting 113 pangolins and more than 300 kg of pangolin scales by boat in Ca Mau, and it failed to furnish legal documents for them.

Local authorities began an investigation into the company’s wildlife breeding activities, and found that the animals were raised for trafficking.

Quy helped transport wildlife from abroad into Vietnam by sea before selling them for local consumption.

Trafficking of pangolins is not uncommon in Vietnam, where they are legally protected and classified as endangered.

The animals are sought after in the country and neighboring nations for their meat and the alleged medicinal properties of their scales.

In 2019, Vietnam seized 63.7 tonnes of pangolin scales, the largest volume in the world, according to the Netherlands-based Wildlife Justice Commission.

It is illegal to hunt, kill, possess, capture, transport, or trade protected animals in Vietnam, and they carry penalties of up to 15 years in prison and fines up to VND15 billion ($645,000).

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