House owner with 14 tigers in basement arrested

By Nguyen Hai   August 11, 2021 | 03:26 am PT
House owner with 14 tigers in basement arrested
A tiger is held captive in a basement of a house in the central Nghe An Province, August 4, 2021. Photo by VnExpress.
The owner of the house in the central Nghe An Province where 14 tigers were found in the basement last week has been arrested.

Nguyen Van Hien, 39, will be detained for four months pending investigation of violations of rules relating to the management and protection of endangered and rare animals under the Penal Code.

Hien, who resides in Nam Vuc Village, Do Thanh Commune in Yen Thanh District, owns the house where 14 Indochinese tigers were found held captive in the basement.

He has told the police that the tigers were transported from Laos to Vietnam as cubs and his family has kept them for months.

Nghe An police also raided the residence of 50-year-old Nguyen Thi Dinh in the same commune and found another three tigers also kept in the basements.

On average, each captive tiger weighed more than 200 kilos.

The police said Dinh has not been arrested yet because they are still in the process of identifying the specific violations.

All 17 tigers were found alive when the police arrived. The rescue force then gave each tiger an anaesthetic shot before transferring them to the Muong Thanh ecological area in Dien Lam Commune of Dien Chau District.

Eight of the tigers were found dead on arrival.

There has been no official report released so far on the cause of death and Nghe An Police said Monday that relocating the captive tigers was "a humane solution" that also sought to prevent tampering of evidence while investigations were ongoing. They said the death of eight tigers was "unintentional."

Several wildlife experts believe the tigers could have died of anaesthetic effects on animals held captive for too long.

The remaining nine tigers are reportedly being "taken care of carefully" at the ecological zone. Provincial authorities have directed the forestry sector to find solutions and contact qualified agencies for long-term care of the tigers.

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