Hanoi Police netted the largest haul of illegal bear bile in the country, according to a press release from the NGO Education for Nature Vietnam (ENV) on June 3.
On May 27, 2022, the Unit No.2 of the Hanoi police department for environmental crimes in coordination with Dan Phuong district caught red-handed Nguyen Van Thao trying to illegally transport 350 bottles of bear bile to the customers.
Thao, from Phung Thuong commune, Phuc Tho district, Hanoi confessed that the bear bile was all extracted from the seven Asian black bears (Ursus thibetanus), an endangered and protected species in Vietnam, that were being kept in captivity in his own properties.
Hanoi continues to be the largest concentration of bears in captivity in Vietnam with 149 bears being kept in private facilities, accounting for more than half of the number of bears in captivity in the country.
It is estimated that 93 percent of bears in captivity in Hanoi are in Phuc Tho district.
Although the extraction and trading of bile bear are not very publicly conducted, the situation remains in the district and has been reported by many domestic and foreign news agencies for a long time.
The exceptionally large amount of bear bile seized in this case also confirms the complex and large-scale nature of the extraction and trading of bear bile at a number of bear breeding facilities in the city.
ENV called for harsh penalties against those involved in these illegal activities as a deterrent, as well as step-up supervision and monitoring of bear facilities, a complete ban on breeding activities in privately-run facilities, and further awareness-raising efforts for the public on the use of alternative substances for medicinal purposes in place of bear bile, which traditionally has been used for various ailments without clear science-backed effectiveness.
Private bear keepers are also urged to hand over the bears to the State authorities for care strictly without reimbursement./.