| DEATH SENTENCE
FOR SMUGGLING ANIMAL SKINS
8th Oct., 2004
In a landmark judgment
on 5 October 2004, a Chinese court sentenced two people
to death and another person to life imprisonment for
smuggling 1,400 skins of endangered animals in Tibet’s
This sentence has come a year after the Anti-Smuggling
Bureau of the People’s Republic of China made
the shocking seizure of illegal skins on 8 October 2003.
The haul included 31 tiger skins, 581 leopard skins
and 778 otter skins and was valued at US$7.6 million.
The Lhasa intermediate court sentenced the Chinese leader
of the group, Wang Jie, to death while Gongbu (aka Gonpo),
a native Tibetan, was sentenced to death with a two-year
reprieve. The third culprit, another Tibetan Laba Ciren
(aka Lhakpa Tsering), was given a life sentence.
This news comes as issues of wildlife enforcement are
being hotly debated by the 166 signatory nations to
the Convention on International Trade of Endangered
Species (CITES) in Bangkok. A report released at CITES
by the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) has
documented the flourishing illicit trade of big cat
skins between India, Nepal and China, with special reference
to the seizure in Tibet last year.