|The bear bile bottles seized in the case in Hà Nội on May 27, 2022. — Photo courtesy of ENV|
HÀ NỘI — Hà Nội Police netted the largest haul of illegal bear bile in the country, according to a press release from the NGO Education for Nature Việt Nam (ENV) on Friday.
On May 27, 2022, the Unit No.2 of the Hà Nội’s police department for environmental crimes in coordination with Đan Phượng District caught red-handed Nguyễn Văn Thao trying to illegally transport 350 bottles of bear bile to the customers.
Thao, from Phụng Thượng Commune, Phúc Thọ District, Hà Nội, confessed that the bear bile was all extracted from the seven Asian black bears (Ursus thibetanus), an endangered and protected species in Việt Nam, that were being kept in captivity in his own properties.
Hà Nội continues to be the largest concentration of bears in captivity in Việt Nam with 149 bears being kept in private facilities, accounting for more than half of the number of bears in captivity in the country.
It is estimated that 93 per cent of bears in captivity in Hà Nội are in Phúc Thọ District.
Although the extraction and trading of bile bear are not very publicly conducted, the situation remains in the district and has been reported by many domestic and foreign news agencies for a long time.
The exceptionally large amount of bear bile seized in this case also confirms the complex and large-scale nature of the extraction and trading of bear bile at a number of bear breeding facilities in the city.
ENV called for harsh penalties against those involved in these illegal activities as a deterrent, as well as step-up supervision and monitoring of bear facilities, a complete ban on breeding activities in privately-run facilities, and further awareness-raising efforts for the public on the use of alternative substances for medicinal purposes in place of bear bile, which traditionally has been used for various ailments without clear science-backed effectiveness.
Private bear keepers are also urged to hand over the bears to the State authorities for care strictly without reimbursement. — VNS
In a related case, on June 1, the police of the northern mountainous province Điện Biên has also detained a 52-year-old man named Lò Văn Bua in Phu Luông District for illegally trafficking two young Asian black bears (weighing 8.4kg total).
Bua said he bought the two bears from a resident of Phu Luông District in hope of turning a profit from selling to other interested parties.