Four investigated for smuggling nearly a ton of pangolin scales in Hanoi

Hanoi’s Department of Environmental Crime Prevention and Control is investigating three women, Nguyen Thi Chinh and Nguyen Thi Ha, both 33 years old and residing in northern Vinh Phuc province, Hoang Thi Hien Phuong , 36, in Hanoi for “selling a man, Nguyen Van Su, 41, who also lives in Vinh Phuc, for” transporting illegal goods “.

In January, the police and Nature Education Vietnam (ENV) became aware of a large pangolin trafficking network operating in Hanoi and the northern provinces of Vinh Phuc, Lang Son and Bac Ninh.

For weeks later, they collaborated in an investigation and on March 29 caught Chinh, Su and Phuong red-handed while exchanging pangolin scales in a residential area in Hanoi’s Me Linh District.

Upon arrest, police confiscated 984 kilograms of white-bellied pangolin scales contained in 50 bags, ENV said in a statement Thursday.

To date, this is the biggest pangolin scale destruction in Vietnam.

As they broadened the investigation, the police also recently arrested Ha.

Pangolins are thought to be the most trafficked mammals in the world, accounting for up to 20 percent of all illegal wildlife trade.

The animal is hunted in and around Vietnam for their meat and the alleged medicinal properties of their scales.

An investigation last year by the Netherlands-based Wildlife Justice Commission (WJC) said in 2018 and 2019, shipments of over 500 kilograms each seized at Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi and in five seaports of Ho Chi Minh City, Da Nang, Hai Phong and Ba Ria-Vung Tau.

Last year, China removed the pangolin’s body parts from its official list of traditional medicines, a move hailed by wildlife groups as a vital step towards protecting the species.

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