Customs officers in northern Hai Phong City have detected and seized 6.2 tons of live pangolins, which are an endangered species, hidden in a 40’’ container shipped from Indonesia.
As shown in the customs declaration for the container, the goods inside were declared to be fish, fish bones and fish stomach, but after an inspection customs officers from Hai Phong Port detected the fraud. The importer of the container is Long Thanh Trading, Investment and Development Co Ltd, headquartered in northern Quang Ninh province’s Mong Cai town. The company had submitted the customs declaration to bring the container into the port to temporarily import and re-export. Customs officers have reported their finding and seized all of the pangolins for investigation. Besides this incident, Hai Phong customs officers have previously seized 1.2 tons of pangolin scales and 10.6 tons of pangolin meat illegally transported through Hai Phong Port. Trading pangolins is banned by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), an international agreement to which Vietnam is a party. In late December 2012 , a joint inspection team in Ha Tinh Province caught a truck illegally carrying more than 100 live pangolins weighing nearly 500 kg. The animals were valued at over VND2 billion (US$96,000). These animals had been bought along the Vietnam-Laos border and were being transported to northern provinces to be sold to restaurants, said the provincial Sub-department of Forest Protection. On April 30, French customs at Paris's Charles de Gaulle airport announced the seizure of some 50 kg (110 pounds) of pangolin scales from Cameroon headed for Vietnam, where they would be prized as aphrodisiacs. The value of the scales was estimated at nearly 75,000 euros ($100,000).