China / Society

Pangolin scales, ivory smuggled under frozen fish

(Xinhua) Updated: 2015-11-26 13:41

NANNING - Police in south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region have busted a wild animal products trafficking ring who they say smuggled pangolin scales and ivory under the cover of frozen fish.

About 970 kg of pangolin scales and 307 kg of ivory were seized on Sunday afternoon at Tongzhong Port in the China-Vietnam border city of Fangchenggang after police realized that boxes of frozen fish heads imported by a local company were heavier than their stated weight, Fangchenggang's public security bureau said on Thursday.

According to the bureau, the scales of an adult pangolin can weigh up to 0.5 kg while the ivory of an adult elephant is about 43 kg, indicating the seized products may come from about 2,000 slaughtered pangolins and at least seven elephants.

All the suspects involved in the case have been arrested as police continue to investigate.

Pangolins, which are under second-class state protection in China, are often smuggled because their meat is considered a delicacy and their scales are believed to have medical qualities.

Under China's criminal law, those who illegally catch, kill, buy or sell endangered wild animals on the state's protection list face a maximum penalty of more than 10 years in jail and fines.

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