Hanoi -

Traffic police in central Vietnam arrested two men stopped for speeding on Monday after the carcasses of two frozen tigers were discovered in their car, authorities said on Monday.

After discovering the tiger carcasses as well as tortoise shells and bones believed to belong to wild animals, police arrested the driver of the car, Ho Van Bang, 41, and his passenger, Nguyen Van Ngon, 39, for allegedly transporting wild animal parts, said the head of the traffic police department in Quang Binh province, Nguyen Quoc Tuong.

“The two men tried to run away, but the police detained them,” Tuong said. “The first tried to bribe the police 5 million dong (250 dollars), but the police refused. The men increased their offer of bribes to 100 million, but the police were determined to arrest them.”

The tigers weighed 80 to 100 kilograms. One of them had been skinned.

Police also discovered 14 fake car registration plates.

Illegal trafficking in tigers, monkeys and other rare animals is widespread in Vietnam and China, where their bones and other body parts are often used in traditional medicine.

A kilogram of pure tiger-bone paste can sell for up to 5 000 dollars on the black market. Tiger paste is used to treat ailments such as headaches.

Hunting or trading in rare animals is punishable by a prison term of up to seven years and a fine of up to 20 million dong. - Sapa-dpa