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Vietnamese woman fined over $12,400 for trading endangered turtles

Friday, January 18, 2019, 15:47 GMT+7
Vietnamese woman fined over $12,400 for trading endangered turtles
The turtles confiscated in the Central Highlands province of Kon Tum are shown in this photo provided by police officers.

Police in Vietnam’s Central Highlands have slapped a fine of VND290 million (US$12,470) on a woman for illicitly trading rare and endangered turtles.

Pham Thi Tam, 39, who resides in An Nhon Town in the south-central province of Binh Dinh, was fined for illegally buying and selling rare and endangered wildlife, officers confirmed on Thursday.

The fine includes VND250 million ($10,750) for the trade of five big-headed turtles (Platysternon megacephalum), each weighing about 3.5 kilograms, and VND40 million ($1,720) for trading 81 turtles of other species, each weighing approximately 64 kilograms.

Big-headed turtles are listed as an endangered species by the IUCN Red List as a result of population declines. 

On November 4, 2018, police in the Central Highlands province of Kon Tum caught a man red-handed transporting the animals in an automobile.

An investigation later revealed that Tam was the owner of these turtles.

The woman said she had sourced them from different people, whose identities are unknown, in the Mekong Delta province of Dong Thap.

Law enforcement rescued all the turtles and transferred them to the conservation center of Chu Mom Ray National Park in Kon Tum for further care before they are released to their natural habitat.

A group of nine people, aged from 25 to 49, was apprehended by police in the north-central province of Ha Tinh on Wednesday afternoon for storing and trading 215 pangolins collectively weighing 600 kilograms.

Officers also confiscated an elephant tusk weighing about one kilogram.

Pangolins in Vietnam are considered highly vulnerable to extinction, according to Save Vietnam’s Wildlife, a nonprofit acting for wildlife’s sake, though trafficking the species remains lucrative due to perceived medicinal properties.

Officers in the north-central province of Ha Tinh examine the pangolins on January 16, 2019. Photo: Thang Dinh / Tuoi Tre
Officers in the north-central province of Ha Tinh examine the pangolins on January 16, 2019. Photo: Thang Dinh / Tuoi Tre

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