Vietnamese police arrest man with tiger skeleton in car
Posted : Fri, 26 Sep 2008 10:36:10 GMT
Hanoi – Hanoi police have arrested a man who was found illegally transporting a tiger skeleton in his car, a police official said Friday. Lieutenant Colonel Nguyen Van Hung said police had been tipped off by an informant who identified the arrestee as a dealer in tiger bones for use in traditional oriental medicine. When police stopped the suspect’s car, they found a tiger skeleton in it.
The 36-kilogram skeleton is believed to have belonged to a tiger weighing some 400 kilograms, and would have been boiled down into tiger-bone paste for sale on the black market.
According to government customs officer Nguyen Thi Lan, 1 kilogram of tiger bone paste sells for 800 to 1,000 dollars.
Police said the suspect, Nguyen Phuc Nguyen, 44, from the central province of Nghe An, declared he had been hired to transport the skeleton from Nghe An to Hanoi for sale by a man named Chinh.
The police said they were pursuing an investigation to find out who had hired Nguyen.
Illegal smuggling of tigers for use in the traditional medicine trade is widespread in Vietnam. In June, Hanoi police arrested a wildlife smuggler as he was preparing to cook a tiger carcass in his apartment.
All tiger species are endangered, and less than 100 of the cats are believed to survive in the wild in Vietnam, where habitat loss and poaching have taken a heavy toll on endangered flora and fauna in recent decades.
According to Vietnamese law, those hunting, transporting or trading in rare animals will be subject to a prison term of up to seven years and a cash fine of up to 1,250 dollars.
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