Sunday, June 22, 2008


Here I am, still dredging up near-recent news items I've been meaning to post. According to the Deutsche Presse-Agentur, via Monsters and Critics,1 Quảng Trị province's Economic Police Force pulled over a suspicious-looking northbound truck on Sunday, May eleventh. The province is five hundred-odd kilometers south of Hà Nội. In the truck they found 1,012 kilograms of live monitor lizards in wooden boxes. It's illegal to smuggle wild animals around in Vietnam, apparently--even trucking them from one area to another: these animals were supposedly harvested in mid-Vietnam, and Quảng Trị is located pretty much in the dead center, too. No one seems to know exactly where these lizards were headed, though police speculate they were destined for Chinese restaurants. The monitors will be released; and I like to imagine them loosed en masse to the dismay of nearby villages. I assume that odd economy label on the Quảng Trị police is meant to indicate their niche in anti-black market enforcement, and not that they're discount-sized. I feel skepticism about the very peculiar number of reptilian kilos, though. It figures out to be almost exactly one imperial ton. I'm not saying it can't happen; but as a fact it seems unusually tidy coming from a European news agency. Other recent smugglings into Vietnam include one dismembered tiger carcass,2 ten tiger claws, one tiger fang, two dried bull gallbladders, five rhino horns, six rhino horn pieces,3 tons of low-quality poultry,4 and, allegedly, pot.5 Incidentally, here in Saigon, they’re also prosecuting a man for allegedly smuggling pot back out of the country,5 and there's apparently pretty brisk profits to me made smuggling gas into Cambodia6. Don't get any bright ideas, those of you reading this in the USA--those higher Cambodian gas prices are only about one-half what you're paying. [Cavin]

Then, a 0 sided conversation ensued...

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