Four rare tiger cubs and 119 endangered pangolins have been seized from a car used by suspected wildlife smugglers in the north-central province of Ha Tinh, Vietnam. Police successfully tracked down and detained the large consignment being illegally transported out of the province on September 4. The four tiger cubs were in cages, with the biggest tiger weighing 11 kilograms and the three others weighing 3.5 kilograms each.
After receiving a tip off from the public, the provincial police dispatched scouts to lie in wait along the highway that runs from Tay Son Town in Ha Tinh Province to Vinh City in the neighbouring province of Nghe An. At 1.30am, a black Camry car appeared from the direction of Huong Son District moving towards the Duc Tho District of Ha Tinh Province. Police in Duc Lam Commune swooped on those driving the car and transporting the illegal consignment.
Police also uncovered several fake number plates, which the transporters used to confuse authorities. The two people transporting the consignment, 36-year-old Ho Sy Hanh and 33-year-old Bui Van Muoi from Nghe An Province, failed to present any legal documents. They claimed they had been hired to transport the animals to Hanoi. The entire haul of animals has been taken over by the Investigation Agency under the Ha Tinh Police Department for necessary procedures before being transferred to the Department of Forest Management in the province.
This is the largest consignment ever of tigers and pangolins that has been caught in Ha Tinh Province. A police official said that all the animals apart from one pangolin were alive. It is estimated that globally as few as 3,200 tigers remain in the wild. The animals are hunted for their fur, bones and other body parts which are used in traditional Chinese medicine. Pangolins, often referred to as "scaly anteaters", are also prized in China and Vietnam for their food and medicinal value.