4 justice employees arrested for stealing seized ivory in Vietnam province

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The room at the judicial verdict enforcement agency in Vinh town from where more than 100 kilograms of seized ivory were stolen October 9. PHOTO: TUOI TRE 

Police in the north-central province of Nghe An have arrested four people working for the judgment-enforcement departments, including in Vinh town, for allegedly stealing more than 100 kilograms of ivory seized from traffickers last year.

The town police arrested Pham Huy Minh, 39, an enforcement official, Thursday, after earlier taking in Dinh Thi Tra Giang, 32, cashier and storekeeper, Dang Ngoc The, 33, an office staff, and Ta Duc Anh, 36, a security guard.

The Vinh People's Court had seized 209 kilograms of ivory and kept them at the town's enforcement department pending an auction, but more than 100 kg, worth about VND4.5 billion (US$213,270), were stolen October 9.

Tran Van Son, finance director at the Vinh People's Committee, which has been entrusted with carrying out the auction, told news website VnExpress that wildlife protection organizations had asked to stop the auction since the tusks came from endangered elephants.

The committee had stored the ivory at the Department of Judgment Enforcement since it does not have enough space elsewhere, he said.

If the tusks, worth around VND7 billion ($332,010) are not auctioned, the court has to decide what to do with them, he added.

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