Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Global smuggling ring busted

A three-month police investigation has led to the seizure of a large haul of endangered wildlife parts and the disruption of an international smuggling ring, the Beijing Forest Police Bureau announced on Monday.

The wildlife trafficking case, which was code-named "May 21", led to the confiscation of illegal wildlife parts, including 800 kg of raw ivory and related products, 11.3 kg of rhino horn and 35 bear paws.

The total value of the haul is approximately 24 million yuan ($3.85 million).

The announcement came just days after China and the United States made a joint commitment "to take significant and timely steps to halt the domestic commercial trade of ivory" during the recent visit by President Xi Jinping to the US.

Police said the criminal gang behind the trafficking had its own processing factory, warehouses and vehicles for transportation.

The operation uncovered a trafficking ring that stretched from Japan through Hong Kong to the Chinese mainland, where the gang was said to operate a network that ranged from Guangdong to Shandong and Beijing, using antique shops as cover for their operations and using online illegal trading and couriers for distribution.

A total of 16 suspects were arrested in Beijing, Hebei, Guangdong and Shandong provinces, of which 15 have been detained and one has been transferred to Shenzhen police.

During the news conference, the forest police said the criminal operation has grown more diversified, driven by the huge profits.

Since 2013, Beijing forest police have cracked 222 cases involving the illegal wildlife trade and arrested 108 suspects.

 China Daily -

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