HÀ NỘI — Four members of an ivory trafficking ring were indicted on Thursday by the Hà Nội People’s Procuracy for trading prohibited goods.
The accused are Phạm Thị Thành, 36; Kiều Thị Nhuần, 38; Phạm Văn Quyết, 25 (Nhuần’s nephew); and Vũ Văn Hoàn, 31. All are residents of the capital city.
Having specialised in the trade of handicrafts, in June 2016, Phạm Thị Thành agreed to meet with a man named Hưng in Bắc Giang Province – 50km to the east of Hà Nội – after the man contacted her and offered to sell ivory.
After examining the products, Thành agreed to buy a total of 55kg of ivory from Hưng, 49kg of which she bought at VNĐ4.5 million (US$198) per kg and the remaining 6kg at VNĐ12.6 million ($555) per kg.
The ivory were identified as belonging to the African bush elephant species (Loxodonta africana), which is included in the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.
In the middle of July 2016, Thành completed the purchase of ivory from Hưng and hid it in her house in Nhị Khê Village in the capital city’s Thường Tín District.
Nhị Khê Village, famous for its handicrafts, is frequented by foreign tourists wishing to buy handicraft products. As an interpreter of Chinese, Kiều Thị Nhuần often brought Chinese tourists to the village to buy wooden beads’ necklaces and bracelets, and established a connection with Thành.
Knowing one of the tourists was keen to buy ivory, Nhuần introduced the customer to Thành. The Chinese customer agreed to buy 50kg of ivory from Thành at VNĐ13.9 million ($612) per kg.
Thành asked her nephew Phạm Văn Quyết and his friend Vũ Văn Hoàn to deliver the ivory to the customer. Quyết and Hoàn agreed, although they were aware it is illegal to deliver prohibited goods.
During the delivery, the two men and 50kg of ivory were seized by police of the Division of Economic Crimes and Management Positions Investigation (PC46) of Hà Nội at the Lạc Thị junction in Thanh Trì District, on the southeastern side of the city.
All files of the case have been transferred to the Hà Nội People’s Court for further examination and trial. — VNS