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Man arrested for smuggling endangered turtles, pangolins

A compilation of police photos shows a pangolin and turtles among endangered animals seized from a man in Nghe An Province Thursday.
A compilation of police photos shows a pangolin and turtles among endangered animals seized from a man in Nghe An Province Thursday.

Police in Nghe An Province in central Vietnam have arrested a man for allegedly smuggling in rare turtles and pangolins from Laos.
Luong Van Keo, 32, was caught early Thursday with 24 turtles and five pangolins, one of which was dead.

Authorities said the animals are endangered and could fetch VND200 million ($8,600) on the black market.

The police have transferred the animals to Pu Mat National Park where they will receive care and possibly be returned to the wild.

Keo is being held for questioning for “breaching regulations on the protection of precious and rare wild animals,” a crime punishable by up to seven years in jail.

Vietnamese law prohibits the hunting, killing, trade, and transportation of wild animals, but it is a lucrative business that continues to lure many people.

Pangolins, tiny and shy and resembling a scaly anteater, are the world’s most trafficked mammal despite bans. They are treasured in Vietnam and its neighborhood for their meat and the alleged medicinal properties of their scales.