In 2021, authorities in Vietnam detected more than 1,500 illegal wildlife trade cased, sanctioned administrative violations with a total amount of nearly 11 billion VND. These numbers were presented at the "Technical update meeting on prevention and combating wildlife trafficking in the situation of the COVID-19" organized by the Environmental Police Department - Ministry of public security and Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) – Viet Nam Program on December 17, 2021. The workshop was conducted within the framework of the Partners Against Wildlife Crime project funded by the European Union.
Technical update meeting on prevention and combating wildlife trafficking in the situation of the COVID-19, Vinh Phuc, December 2021
Participants of the meeting included Colonel, Dr. Le Thom - Deputy Director of the Environmental Police Department, representatives of the WCS and more than 40 delegates who are representatives of the Environmental Police Department; Department of Cybersecurity and high-tech crime prevention; Police Department for Economic Crimes; Department of Foreign Affairs; People's Police Academy - Ministry of Public Security, Environmental Police Department, and Police Department for Economic Crimes of 12 provinces and cities which were identified as hotspots on illegal wildlife trade in the North and Central regions.
Dr. Le Thom - Deputy Director of the Environmental Police Department spoke at the meeting, Vinh Phuc, December 2021
All participants confirmed that in the past years, although law enforcement agencies have made great efforts in crime prevention; however, the situation of illegal wildlife trade in Vietnam is still complicated. With the development of science and information technology, criminal methods of target groups have become increasingly sophisticated to avoid detection by the authorities. In the situation of the COVID-19, with the restriction of movement between countries, the application of information technology for wildlife trade and taking advantage of gaps in the financial and non-financial methods of transferring and concealing proceeds from the illegal wildlife trade are expected to increase in complexity. In the meeting, the participants assessed the criminal situation, identified risks arising from illegal wildlife trade, and then proposed measures to prevent and combat this type of crime.
In the situation that the COVID-19 epidemic has been causing a health crisis as well as a serious economic recession on a global scale, and many studies have suggested that the disease has originated from wildlife, the participants agreed that it is time for illegal wildlife trade to be viewed not only from the perspective of organized and transnational crime, but as potentially dangerous behaviors that pose a risk of spreading infectious diseases from animals to humans. Therefore, the prevention and combat wildlife trafficking is not only meaningful to wildlife conservation but also has great significance in protecting the health of the community.
To effectively prevent this situation, the Environmental Police Department is committed to continuing to promote law enforcement activities, communication activities and raising awareness for the community; at the same time, promote coordination and information sharing with other countries, especially African countries in the illegal wildlife supply chain.