China Jails 17 People For Smuggling Nigerian Pangolin Scales Worth US$28 Million

Credit: AfricaNews

A court in east China’s Zhejiang Province on Tuesday sentenced 17 people to imprisonment for smuggling more than 23 tonnes of pangolin scales into the country, XinhuaNet reported. The pangolin, which was smuggled into China from Nigeria, is said to be worth US$28 million.

The 17 people were convicted of importing the said scale of pangolin between 2018 and 2019, the Intermediate People’s Court in the eastern city of Wenzhou said. According to Xinhuanet, two men suspects Yao and Wang, were sentenced to 14 and 13 years in prison, respectively. Other suspects received jail terms ranging from one year and three months to 12 years. The scales were brought in on, among other things, a consignment “hidden in ginger slices.” 

China removed pangolin body parts from its official list of traditional medicines in June and raised the animal’s protected status to the country’s highest level due to its dwindling numbers. The country has banned illegal trade in wildlife and stepped up a crackdown on such activities. In December, the country said it jailed a network accused of running its biggest-ever ivory smuggling ring, which moved elephant tusks worth millions of dollars from West Africa into the mainland’s vast domestic market.

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