Viet Nam Wildlife Crime Investigation: Public Hearing Announced

The Wildlife Justice Commission
2016-09-15 08:00 2693

THE HAGUE, the Netherlands, Sept. 15, 2016 /PRNewswire/ --

Following a year-long investigation into wildlife trafficking hub, Nhi Khe, Viet Nam the Wildlife Justice Commission will hold a Public Hearing on 14 & 15 November 2016 at the Peace Palace in The Hague, the Netherlands.

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US$ 53.1 million in parts and products of rhinos, elephants and tigers trafficked through a criminal network consisting of 51 individuals.

Our case file (Map of Facts), over 5,000 pages plus audio / visual, was presented to Viet Nam in January 2016 and China in February 2016. Over multiple visits, our investigators observed directly:

-US$42.7m rhino horn, US$6.8m ivory, US$3.6m tiger parts

-From up to 907 elephants, 579 rhinos, 225 tigers

-Pangolin, bear, hawksbill turtles and helmeted hornbills

-579 rhinos - equivalent to half the rhinos poached in South Africa in 2015

-An alarming increase in the illegal tiger trade

-The expansion of Nhi Khe as a trading hub via social media: WeChat and Facebook

-Evidence includes 17 Chinese bank accounts, used by traffickers to receive payments from Chinese buyers

Olivia Swaak-Goldman, Executive Director, Wildlife Justice Commission, said:

"We have provided the Vietnamese authorities a detailed case file with everything necessary to prosecute these criminals and close down the operation. We have offered assistance and worked with stakeholders to encourage the Vietnamese authorities to act, but so far to no avail. The scale of criminality involved simply cannot be ignored."

We aspire to activate justice in a spirit of collaboration, but in the absence of action we have no choice but to present our evidence in a global public forum."

Despite this overwhelming body of evidence, prepared by law enforcement professionals for use by Vietnamese law enforcement authorities, an extensive diplomatic outreach and engagement of international stakeholders, the Vietnamese government has failed to take decisive action to close down this criminal network.

In contrast, authorities in China - the main market for these products - have indicated they are taking this case seriously and have started a preliminary investigation.

Evidence from the investigation, experts and witnesses will be heard over two days by an independent, impartial panel of five international members drawn from our Accountability Panel.

The Wildlife Justice Commission operates globally: five further investigations are underway, others are in review. A recent investigation in Malaysia led to the arrests of 12 traffickers.

Expanded details on

Source: The Wildlife Justice Commission