Ho Chi Minh City pet shop owner arrested for wildlife smuggling

By Khanh An, Thanh Nien News

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Police have arrested a 22-year-old man in Ho Chi Minh City for allegedly smuggling wild animals from Thailand for sale in Vietnam.
They said the arrestee, Phan Huynh Anh Khoa, has even advertised tiger cubs on the Facebook page of a pet shop that he owns.
Khoa was caught red-handed on December 3 when selling a red-shanked douc (Pygathrix nemaeus) and nine oriental small-clawed otter (Amblonyx cinerea) to a customer at a café in Tan Binh District.
The arrest was made by the central Environment Police Department in coordination with two advocacy groups, Wildlife Conservation Society and Education for Nature-Vietnam.
At his shop Vuong Quoc Thu Cung, Khoa handed over many wild animals, including two Tegu lizards, three Savannah lizards, two squirrels and a crocodile.
Khoa confessed that he bought the wild animals in Thailand to sell as pets in Vietnam.
Police said they have long kept tabs on Khoa for wildlife smuggling accusations.
He has been fined several times but he has maintained the illegal business, police said.
The seized animals have been sent to the Cu Chi District Rescue Center.
Police said Khoa may be a member of a large wildlife smuggling gang that they are tracking down.
According to Wildlife Conservation Society, illegal wildlife trade on the Internet has been on the rise recently, causing difficulties for law enforcement agencies.

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