Lion teeth and claws seized as Vietnamese national arrested in Limpopo
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Pretoria – A Vietnamese national has been arrested in connection with the illegal trade in wildlife and illegal possession of a firearm following raids on properties in Bela-Bela and Pretoria, the department of forestry, fisheries and the environment said on Saturday.
The arrest of the man came after a four-month investigation involving analysts and wildlife investigators, according to spokesperson Albi Modise.
“The integrated team involved in the raid comprised the Green Scorpions from the department of forestry, fisheries and the environment, the Limpopo department of economic development, environment and tourism (LEDET), the Gauteng department of agriculture and rural development (GDARD) and SANParks, as well as members of the South African Police Service,” said Modise.
He said search-and-seizure warrants were executed simultaneously at a Vietnamese-owned farm near Bela-Bela in Limpopo and at two storage units in Pretoria.
“A Vietnamese national was arrested. The man appeared in the Bela-Bela Regional Court on Friday.
’’The case has been postponed to 20 August 2021 for a Vietnamese interpreter. The man has been charged with illegal possession of a threatened species in terms of the National Environmental Management Biodiversity Act,” said Modise.
The joint investigation team seized 4.19kg of lion teeth, 680g of lion claws and more than 60kg of processed animal products believed to be lion gelatine. An illegal firearm was also confiscated.
“The collaborative nature of this operation has once again proven the importance of an integrated approach to investigations. The valuable assistance of the private sector in this matter is also highly appreciated,” said Modise.
African News Agency (ANA)