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Police arrest two Korean nationals for their role in promoting bear bile tourism in Vietnam’s Ha Long Bay and Hai Duong province. The arrests at the end of May in Vietnam followed issuance of warrants in South Korean.
One of the individuals, Mr. Kim Kwang Sueng, was known to ENV and was the subject of an investigation involving selling bear bile products to Korean tourists at a store he managed in Hai Duong. The second man, Chang Chong Won was reportedly one of several Koreans involved in bear farms in neighboring Quang Ninh province.
Police are yet to arrest Mr. Park Jong Won, another reported major Korean figure behind the bear bile tourism industry in Ha Long Bay. Won is suspected of being the principle Korean partner behind operation of both surviving bear farms in the city, and bringing in busloads of Korean tourists in the past to purchase bear bile before smuggling the products back to South Korean.
Both bear farms in Ha Long are currently closed thanks to the excellent work of Quang Ninh FPD-led Task Force established by the province to ensure that no tourists visit the farms.
ENV has been campaigning since 2007 to close six bear farms that cater to Korean tourists. Four of the farms have since closed. In December, 2013, ENV requested help from the Prime Minister in closing the farms after many years of unsuccessful efforts through various ministries and provincial departments. Since early this year, the Quang Ninh provincial People’s Committee (PC) has worked very closely with ENV on closing the farms and has ensured that functional agencies carry out instructions issued by the PC in January ordering an end to bear bile tourism in Quang Ninh.