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Dealers of Antelope Horns Imprisoned

The Beijing Fangshan District Court pronounced a judgment on the largest case of illegal Saiga antelope horn dealing on May 12. The three accused involved in this lawsuit were punished accordingly.

The court took the case in March 2004, with hearings beginning on March 30. The three suspects were accused of buying and transporting Saiga antelope horn.

Saiga antelope is an endangered species under first-class state protection. The dirty business involves 568 horns, with a total value of 4.2 million yuan (US$500,000). It is the largest case of its kind ever tried in Beijing.

Meng Xiangli was sentenced to 12 years of imprisonment for his crime of illegally selling and transporting Saiga antelope horns; Liu Bin and Wang Zhijun who were directly involved in the case were sentenced to six and five years of imprisonment respectively.

In early March last year, the factory manager of a pharmaceutical company, Zhang, assigned two of his subordinates, Liu Bin and Wang Zhijun, to go to Anguo City in Hebei Province to ask Meng, their business partner, to pay the money he owned to them. After negotiations, the two sides agreed that Meng could use traditional Chinese medicine, including Saiga antelope horns, to pay his debt. When Meng carried the horns in his wagon and drove to Beijing, he was caught by police on the highway. The court took over the case and began its investigation.

The prosecutor says that the pharmaceutical company, in addition to the individual defendants, has violated the law for the protection of endangered animals.

(China.org.cn by Wang Ruyue, May 13, 2004)

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