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Smuggled from Africa: Da Nang destroys almost 10 tonnes of wildlife parts worth $12.3mn

Smuggled from Africa: Da Nang destroys almost 10 tonnes of wildlife parts worth $12.3mn

Friday, December 29, 2023, 14:58 GMT+7
Smuggled from Africa: Da Nang destroys almost 10 tonnes of wildlife parts worth $12.3mn
Wildlife parts are destroyed by officers of the Civil Judgment Enforcement Department and relevant agenciesin Da Nang City, central Vietnam, December 28, 2023. Photo: ENV

Authorities in central Vietnam’s Da Nang City on Thursday destroyed nearly 10 metric tons of wildlife parts, including ivory, rhino horns, and others, which bogus companies had smuggled from African countries in 2021.

The municipal Civil Judgment Enforcement Department, in conjunction with relevant agencies, carried out the destruction at the incinerator of An Sinh Trading and Construction Co. Ltd. in Dai Loc District, Quang Nam Province, which borders Da Nang.

The wildlife items destroyed included 456kg of tusks, over 138kg of rhino horns, 6.2 metric tons of pangolin scales, and 3.1 metric tons of lion bones, which all were seized in a smuggling case uncovered at the Tien Sa Port in Da Nang in 2021. 

The total value of these smuggled goods was estimated at some VND300 billion ($12.35 million), according to the department.   

For the smuggling case, Nguyen Duc Tai, a 34-year-old man hailing from north-central Ha Tinh Province, was sentenced to 13 years in prison for violating regulations on protecting endangered, precious and rare animals, and for forging and using seals and documents of agencies and organizations.

Tai set up two bogus companies using counterfeit papers in the name of other persons and used the firms to smuggle such wildlife items from some African countries, including Nigeria, into Vietnam as common imported shipments through the port from February to September 2021.

These illicit wildlife items were deceitfully labeled in customs declarations as wooden flooring parts and cashew nuts, or concealed within other imported goods.

However, all of them were successfully identified and intercepted by local customs forces.

Endangered wildlife products are strictly banned from being traded in, imported into or exported from Vietnam as they are protected by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), to which the country has been party since 1994.

Pursuant to Vietnam’s Penal Code, transporting, trading, capturing or killing wild animals or parts thereof is a criminal offense punishable by six months to 12 years in prison.

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Vinh Tho - Doan Cuong / Tuoi Tre News

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