A harsh verdict was handed out to international organized smuggling group in Primorye

On 27 May, Primorsky regional court finished the proceedings on the case of trafficking Amur tiger derivatives and 480 bear paws, which smugglers tried to pass to China in August 2007.

During two months the public attentively followed the process of court session on contraband of Amur tiger bones and skin, paws of black and Himalayan bears, committed by organized international band of smugglers. And finally, on 27 May 2008, the judge of Primorsky Province regional court has announced the verdict on this criminal case.

All six persons on trail are found guilty on crimes as provided by the Criminal Code of Russian Federation and sentenced to real terms of imprisonment. The most active band members: Alexei Razumenko (Russian) and Ji Wenbin (Chinese) are sentenced to 8 years of imprisonment at the colony with the strict regime and to the penalty at the amount of 200 thousand rubles each. One of the main principles of justice has worked once again – the necessity of punishment for illegal act.

“High interest to this case was caused by the unprecedented number of derivatives«, says Natalia Pervushina, coordinator of TRAFFIC Program on the Russian Far East. »I hope that the heavy sentence will become demonstrative both for smugglers and for poachers, making their plans to benefit from illegal use of natural resources of the Far East”.

“To the regret of conversationalists, in the frames of this case the legality of killing 120 brown and Himalayan bears is not determined«, comments Gennady Zherebkin, law enforcement advisor of the WWF-Russia Amur branch. »Persons participated in illegal hunting for Amur tiger are not determined as well and not instituted criminal proceedings. As a result, no damage from their criminal activity was compensated to the State”.

“Endless reforms of wildlife protection agencies and constant reduction of their responsibilities bring no benefits to conservation of wild flora and fauna«, - notes Sergei Aramilev, WWF-Russia Amur branch biodiversity conservation program coordinator. –»More efforts should be undertaken to anticipate and prevent such criminal cases”.

For additional information please contact

Elena Starostina, Press-officer (WWF Russia Far - Eastern Branch),
tel/fax: +7 (4232) 41-48-68, e-mail

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