Vietnam arrests five for trafficking tiger, elephant bones
Sep 29, 2010, 6:32 GMT
Hanoi - Five people have been arrested on charges they ran the largest rare animal-parts trafficking ring ever uncovered in Hanoi, a police official said Wednesday.
The suspects allegedly bought and processed rare animal remains, including tiger and elephant bones, for use in traditional medicine.
Police arrested the five suspects on Tuesday, said Colonel Nguyen Van Nong, Head of Hanoi Police's department for economic crime investigation.
They were identified as couple who allegedly led the ring, Nguyen The Gioi, 54 and his wife Nguyen Thuy Dung, 49, and three men accused of buying and transporting the rare animal bones.
Police discovered a cache of bones on September 15 after stopping a car carrying tiger and forest-deer bones. The driver led them to a warehouse containing 10 tiger skeletons and some 600 kilograms of other bones from elephants, bears and panthers.
Police also seized 560 packages labeled 'bear gall,' but they turned out to be fake.
Illegal trafficking in tigers, monkeys and other rare animals is widespread in Vietnam and China, where the bones and other body parts are often used in traditional medicine.
A kilogram of pure tiger-bone paste can sell for up to 5,000 dollars on the black market.
Under Vietnamese law, hunting or trading in rare animals is punishable by a prison term of up to seven years and a fine of up to 20 million dong (1,250 dollars).