Police in Da Nang, central Vietnam have arrested a man for allegedly running several shell companies which smuggled wildlife parts, such as ivory, lion bones, and rhino horns, from Africa to Vietnam.
The municipal Department of Public Security confirmed on Wednesday that they had detained Nguyen Duc Tai, 33, on charges of violating regulations on the protection of endangered and rare animals.
Officers also searched Tai’s house and workplace and confiscated evidence related to the case.
According to preliminary information, police in Da Nang first detected Tai’s suspicious activities in early 2021.
A probe later revealed that he and his subordinates had used personal information from several people, including deceased individuals, to set up shell companies with fake headquarters.
Under the cover of these firms, Tai and his racket managed to smuggle wildlife parts from Africa to Tien Sa Seaport in Da Nang.
Police later coordinated with customs officers in inspecting a shipping container of wooden floor planks from South Africa and discovered 52 rhino horns weighing 138.7 kilograms along with 93 boxes of lion bones weighing 3,108 kilograms.
The consignee was a shell company registered to an address in Cam Le District.
In early 2022, officers examined a shipping container of cashew nuts imported from Nigeria and found over 456 kilograms of ivory together with more than 6,232 kilograms of pangolin scales.
The consignee was another shell company in Da Nang.
Investigators eventually identified Tai as the person behind the illegal operation.