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THE ILLEGAL WILDLIFE TRADE IS NOW THE
FOURTH LARGEST TRANS-
DRUGS, ARMS AND HUMAN TRAFFICKING
ONE KILOGRAM OF RHINO HORNS
NOW MORE VALUABLE THAN
GOLD, COCAINE, HEROINE & DIAMONDS
MORE THAN 1200 RANGERS
KILLED ON THE FRONT LINES
IN THE LAST DECADE
SYNDICATES, POACHING AND REGULATED TRADE
REGULATED TRADE OF RHINO HORN WILL NOT STOP POACHING AND TRAFFICKING AS LONG AS POWERFUL SYNDICATES OPERATE ABOVE THE LAW
There are many powerful Syndicates and Triads operating in Africa and Asia that take advantage of the weak wildlife laws and high levels of corruption. They trade endangered species products that are trafficked from Africa, India, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam to supply ever growing demand in insatiable markets across Asia.
Lawless hubs, where illegal wildlife trade is carried out openly, such as the Golden Triangle Special Economic Zone, allow illegal trade of endangered species to continue unchecked. Casino based towns, set up on the borders of China (to cater to Chinese visitors and traders) by the Kings Roman Group (with investment from Governments and reportedly, Drug Cartels), act as conduits for illegal trade. Wildlife MarketsIn these towns (eg. Boten and Ton Pheung in Laos; Mong La and Tachileik in Myanmar), a blind eye is turned to the trade of endangered species products such as tiger skins, tiger wine, rhino horn, pangolin scales and meat and poached ivory. In fact, the markets are always heaving with illegal wildlife products being sold openly in these centres. As demand increases new centres open.
The most powerful of the Hong Kong triads are:
Sun Yee On
Tai Huen Chai
Wo Shing Wo
Wo Hop To (prominent in Australia)
Then there are the big Triads based in foreign countries:
Bamboo Union, Taiwan
Four Seas Gang, Taiwan
Sio Sam Ong, Malasia
Ang Soon Tong, Singapore
Wah Kee, Singapore
Ghee Hin Kongsi, Singapore
Wah Ching, San Fransisco
Black Dragons, Los Angeles
Flying Dragons, New York City
Ah Kong, Amsterdam
Black Jade, Texas
And this is just the Triads. Then there are the Tongs (expat Chinese Gangs), various Italian and Russian Mafia, the Eastern European Block Syndicates, the Middle Eastern Syndicates, the Xaysavang Syndicate (Vixay Keosavang seemingly untouchable!) and theIllegal Ivory Trafficking African Syndicates and Terrorist Groups: Lords Resistance Army, Boko Haram, Al Shabaab, Mungiki, poaching ringleader Boniface Matthew Mariango (arrested), Janjaweed, etc.
With such sophisticated and powerful International and local Syndicates, Triads, Warlords and Gangs operating, regulated trade of rhino horn would be impossible to control. The black market in firearms, diamonds, oil and cigarettes has never been closed down. In Triad raids in Hong Kong, police seized $76 million worth of black market cigarettes.
It would be far faster and easier to eliminate all demand for rhino horn than it would be to try to close down the Trafficking Syndicates and Triads or to stop Warlords and Gangs operating. If all talk of trade ended, and there was global backing for programs such as RRP and Demand Reduction Campaigns, people could easily be persuaded to stop using and buying rhino horn – a bogus product that costs a fortune and has no power to heal or bestow good fortune on the owner.