3 jailed for smuggling butterflies

Xinhua
A court in east China has jailed three people for smuggling 2,800 butterfly specimens, including about 1,200 rare and protected species, into the country.
Xinhua

A court in east China has jailed three people for smuggling 2,800 butterfly specimens, including about 1,200 rare and protected species, into the country.

The convicts were handed jail terms of five, seven and 10 years respectively by the Intermediate People’s Court of Jinan, in Shandong Province.

They were also levied fines of between 20,000 yuan (US$3,020) and 50,000 yuan.

The case, which involved more than 1.5 million yuan, is believed to be the largest butterfly smuggling case uncovered by Chinese authorities.

Since October 2015, the convicts had bought 2,800 butterfly specimens online from countries such as Malaysia and the Philippines. 

They had the specimens posted to China before framing and selling them online.

The perpetrators were found out in January last year when customs officers found colorful butterfly specimens in a parcel from Malaysia. The parcel’s attached declaration form said it contained dresses.

More than 1,200 of the butterfly species are protected under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), and China’s law.

Butterfly specimens are expensive and in demand in the private collectors’ market. One species, Papilio chikae, can sell for more than 10,000 yuan.

China prohibits the sale, purchase or use of wildlife.

Exceptions are made in special cases, such as for scientific research and captive breeding. But approval from the government must be obtained.


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