Woman's jail term for illegal wildlife trade doubled

By Hoang Phong   May 13, 2020 | 05:38 pm PT
Woman's jail term for illegal wildlife trade doubled
Turtles found in Pham Thi Thuan's house during a police raid in 2018. Photo courtesy of Quang Nam Police.
A appeal court in the central province of Quang Nam has increased the jail term for a woman from two to five years for illegally trading endangered wildlife.

Pham Thi Thuan, 58, had received two years and a fine of VND60 million ($2,560) at a trial last December, but prosecutors said the punishment was too lenient and sought a more stringent sentence.

The appeal court obliged.

In August 2018 police officers had raided Thuan’s house and found 13 endangered king cobras, nearly 300 turtles and many other rare species for which she failed to provide any documents.

It is illegal to hunt, kill, possess, capture, transport, or trade protected animals, and violators can get up to 15 years in prison in Vietnam.

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc instructed the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development in March to draft a directive to completely ban wildlife trade.

Conservation organizations have urged the government to identify and close markets and other locations where illegal wildlife is on sale to prevent Covid-19.

Experts estimate 70 percent of dangerous humans diseases originate in wildlife animals.

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