Rhino horns seized at Noi Bai International Airport (Source: antt.vn)

Hanoi (VNA) – Deputy Prime Minister Pham Binh Minh has assigned the Ministries of Public Security, National Defence, Finance, and Industry and Trade to intensify preventive measures and strictly handle the illegal smuggling and transportation of wild animals and plants.

According to assessments of several international experts, Vietnam has become a hot spot for the smuggling and use of products of wild animals and plants in Southeast Asia.

The country has also been said to serve as a major centre for the illegal trading of wild animal products. Many large-volume cross-border smuggling cases have been detected, while the use of elephant tusks and rhino horns, as well as the slaughter of wild animals to serve parties, are still common occurrences amongst Vietnamese people.

Due to these actions, many species of wild animals are at risk of going extinct, thus threatening biodiversity across the region.

Statistics of the Supreme People’s Court of Vietnam showed that from 2015-2017, the court handled 231 cases violating regulations on wild and endangered animals with 339 people involved – of whom eight were sentenced to 3-7 years in prison, and 96 received under-3-year imprisonment sentences. –VNA