Harsh prison sentences for wildlife criminals

Registered Wildlife Farm Busted for Laundering Wildlife

On May 12, 2020, the Provincial People’s Court of Quang Nam sentenced Pham Thi Thuan to 5 years in prison and 60 million VND for laundering wildlife through her licensed wildlife farm in Thanh Binh district of Quang Nam province. 

Two years ago, on May 8, 2018, authorities searched the address of Ms. Pham Thi Thuan’s registered wildlife farm and confiscated 13 king cobras, 8 Bengal monitors, nearly 300 turtles including 18 big-headed turtles, and many other rare wildlife species. Prior to that, Thuan was fined twice in 2011 and 2013 for illegally possessing wildlife that was not bred in the captivity of her farm but sourced illegally from the wild. 

In December 2019, Thuan was sentenced to 2 years in prison for her illegal activity. However, through ENV intervention and an appeal to Quang Nam court for a longer sentence, her time in prison was lengthened to 5 years.

This news story has been picked up by The Independent, featured in this article.

Photo: Quang Nam Environment Police

Pangolin Trafficking Kingpin and Accomplices Sentenced to Hard Time in Prison

On May 13, 2020, Tran Quy, Director of Hai Dang., Ltd, was sentenced to 13 years in prison and 100 million VND by the Provincial People’s Court of Ca Mau for running a pangolin trafficking network through the ruse of an ecotourism business. His accomplices also received prison terms. Nguyen Hai Nam was sentenced to 12 years in prison and 50 million VND, Le Viet Linh received 10 years in prison, and Ngo Vu Lam was sentenced to 2 years in prison for abusing his position as a Forest Protection Officer to create fraudulent legal papers for Tran Quy’s business.

In January 2018, Dat Mui Border Guard seized 114 Sunda pangolins and more than 300kg of Sunda pangolin scales on an unregistered ship belonging to Hai Dang., Ltd. Further investigation showed that Hai Dang., Ltd (the business for which Tran Quy was the director) had a license for conducting eco-tourism and wildlife conservation activities on Hon Khoai Island in Ca Mau province. However, Hai Dang., Ltd did not actually carry out any tourism activity on the island. They used the remote location to receive pangolins and pangolin scales in huge shipments from overseas, then transported them to mainland Vietnam where they were then driven north towards the Chinese border.  

ENV followed this case closely and provided information about Tran Quy’s business when able. The harsh prison sentences sparked attention from the media, seen in the VN Express article here.

Photo: Le Khoa

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