Exclusive: Vietnam’s ‘double standards’ in ivory trade

Al Jazeera Investigative Unit’s report raises questions about Vietnam’s commitment to tackle wildlife trafficking.

14 November 2016

Al Jazeera’s Investigative Unit has uncovered evidence that Vietnam is still a major market for illegal wildlife products, despite Hanoi’s stated commitment that it is tackling the issue.

The investigation comes a few days before the Southeast Asian nation hosts an international conference on stopping the illicit trade.

On Saturday, Vietnamese authorities in the capital ground down and burned two tonnes of ivory and 70kg of rhino – all seized from smugglers –  in a symbolic move designed to show the government’s commitment to thwarting wildlife crime.

But the new evidence raises questions over potential Vietnamese double standards, allowing endangered animals to be trafficked just an hour’s drive from where the conference will be held later this week.

A Dutch group filmed secretly in the village of Nhi Khe, located only 50km from Hanoi, and shared the video exclusively with Al Jazeera as part of an investigation into the rhino horn trade.

Watch the film here: Al Jazeera Investigates – The Poachers Pipeline

“We found several shop signs there which said ‘ivory’, ‘rhino horn’, ‘tiger’, and very clearly advertising these items for sale,” said Pauline Verheij, of the Wildlife Justice Commission.

In the footage, a woman is seen entering a room and placing a big rhino horn on a table.

“I think they are mostly interested in the weight and the price,” Verheij said.

In one year, body parts from about 900 elephants, 600 rhino, more than 200 tigers, and other endangered species all ended up in Nhi Khe.

Dealers continue to advertise the items for sale online.

“A place like this cannot exist without local authorities being in the know and facilitating it,” Verheij said.

READ MORE: South African minister linked to rhino trafficker

The Dutch team amassed a large dossier of evidence on the village, hoping that the Vietnamese government would make good on its promise to get tough on wildlife traffickers.

“We have sent it to numerous ministries and individuals within the Vietnamese authorities and the reaction has been almost unanimously silence,” said Olivia Swaak-Goldman, also of the Wildlife Justice Commission.

“We’ve given them every opportunity. Now it’s too late.”

Source: Al Jazeera News

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This entry was posted in Bảo tồn sinh vật hoang dã - Wild life preservation, Môi trường - Environment and tagged , , , by Trần Đình Hoành. Bookmark the permalink.

About Trần Đình Hoành

I am an attorney in the Washington DC area, with a Doctor of Law in the US, attended the master program at the National School of Administration of Việt Nam, and graduated from Sài Gòn University Law School. I aso studied philosophy at the School of Letters in Sài Gòn. I have worked as an anti-trust attorney for Federal Trade Commission and a litigator for a fortune-100 telecom company in Washington DC. I have taught law courses for legal professionals in Việt Nam and still counsel VN government agencies on legal matters. I have founded and managed businesses for me and my family, both law and non-law. I have published many articles on national newspapers and radio stations in Việt Nam. In 1989 I was one of the founding members of US-VN Trade Council, working to re-establish US-VN relationship. Since the early 90's, I have established and managed VNFORUM and VNBIZ forum on VN-related matters; these forums are the subject of a PhD thesis by Dr. Caroline Valverde at UC-Berkeley and her book Transnationalizing Viet Nam. I translate poetry and my translation of "A Request at Đồng Lộc Cemetery" is now engraved on a stone memorial at Đồng Lộc National Shrine in VN. I study and teach the Bible and Buddhism. In 2009 I founded and still manage dotchuoinon.com on positive thinking and two other blogs on Buddhism. In 2015 a group of friends and I founded website CVD - Conversations on Vietnam Development (cvdvn.net). I study the art of leadership with many friends who are religious, business and government leaders from many countries. In October 2011 Phu Nu Publishing House in Hanoi published my book "Positive Thinking to Change Your Life", in Vietnamese (TƯ DUY TÍCH CỰC Thay Đổi Cuộc Sống). In December 2013 Phu Nu Publishing House published my book "10 Core Values for Success". I practice Jiu Jitsu and Tai Chi for health, and play guitar as a hobby, usually accompanying my wife Trần Lê Túy Phượng, aka singer Linh Phượng.

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