| Tibet Wildlife Seizure
- India Confirmed as Source of Skins
18th February, 2004
The Wildlife Protection
Society of India (WPSI) yesterday received confirmation
that all the skins that were seized in Angren County,
China, in October 2003, originated and were smuggled
directly from India. The seizure by the Chinese authorities
was one of the biggest in history, and included 31 tiger
skins, 581 leopard skins and 778 otter skins. The tiger
skins represented about 1% of India's entire population
of wild tigers.
You can view a picture of the seizure on website
Below is a translation of an article that originally
appeared in the Beijing Youth Daily on February 14th,
Contributor: CCTV Legal Online
Translated from Chinese
31 Bengal tiger skins; 581 leopard
skins and 778 Eurasian otter skins
31 tiger skins, 581 leopard skins,
778 Eurasian otter skins and 2 lynx skins, as well as
one fake tiger skin, were seized on October 8th 2003
at a police checkpoint at Sansan, a small township at
Angren County, southwest of Tibet. Policemen at the
temporary checkpoint stopped the truck on its way from
Ali to Lhasa with the 1,393 pieces of smuggled skins
of endangered species.
The officers also found many newspapers,
mostly Indian newspapers, in these bags with the wildlife
skins, clearly revealing the origin of the animals.
According to Li Jianwen, vice director
of Anti-Smuggling Bureau of Lhasa Customs, "when
questioned, the driver claimed the goods were wool;
but only three bags of wool were found; and the rest
were bags of tiger and leopard skins and others".
"Many of these tiger skins have
bullet holes; and some of tiger skins are rather small,
which might only be tiger cubs of several months' old”,
said Li Jianwen.
Three people on the truck,who are Tibetans,
were taken to Angren Country police station. The driver,
Laba Zeren, said he was not aware what the goods were
in his truck, and that he was only paid to deliver the
goods from Ali to Lhasa. The other two people claimed
to be only hitchhikers.
Suspecting it to be a smuggling case,
Angren police notified Lhasa Customs. The Lhasa Customs
officers soon arrived at Angren County and started the
The three suspects did not admit their
previous acquaintance, but the police detected the Chinese
currency notes on each of them were in the same number
series, evidence that the three might have been involved
in the deal.
After consulting with the Customs authority
at Ali, where the truck came from, the police learnt
that the three had been detained before on September
16th 2003, for trying to sneak into India, but they
were released afterwards due to lack of evidence.
After their first failed attempt to
receive "goods" on September 16th 2003 from
an Indian supplier, the three managed to receive these
animal skins late at night on October 4th 2003 at the
India-China border. Four days later, the three were
caught by the police at Sansan checkpoint on their way
The profiles of the three accused are
as follows - Dunzhu (age 36, Tibetan, from Mangkang
County, Changdu), Gongbu (age 22, from Mangkang County,
Changdu), and Laba Zeren (age 34; from Gongju County).
(Note: The translation of the names of people and
places is Chinese version.)