Viet pol asks South Korea to help stop bear bile trade
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, November/December 2009:
SEOUL–Vietnamese National Assembly member Nguyen Dinh Xuan
on October 28, 2009 confirmed to Moon Gwang-lip of the South Korean
newspaper Joong Ang Daily that he has asked the South Korean
government to cooperate with Viet efforts to halt bear bile farming.
“Nyuyen Dinh Xuan said that Korean visitors are involved in
illegal bear bile sales in Vietnam,” South Korean environment
ministry senior deputy director Kim Won-tae told Gwang-lip. “He
requested that we instruct Koreans to refrain from these illegal acts
when they travel to Vietnam.”
Bear bile farming is now illegal in Vietnam, but about 10
bile farms with about 80 bears remain near Ha Long City, Quang Ninh
Province, a seaside area popular with South Koreans.
Xuan said he learned from the environmental group Education
for Nature/ Vietnam that more than 100 tourist buses took as many as
1,500 South Koreans to visit bear farms within 10 days in April and
August 2009. A South Korean travel agency director told Gwang-lip
that “a significant portion of the profits from the sales of bear
bile to tourists return to us in the form of commissions.”
“We want to emphasize that we feel regret for this, and we
hope that we might work with others in the future to stop such
violations,” Xuan said. Xuan told Gwang-lip that all 33 members of
the National Assembly Committee on Science, Technology and
Environment are working to end the bear bile traffic.
Other Vietnamese officials, however, seem to be in no
hurry, while customers keep arriving. The Hong Kong-based Animals
Asia Foundation in May 2009 opened a sanctuary for the Ha Long bears,
on the promise that the bile barms would all be closed, but so far
has received only one bear, founder Jill Robinson told ANIMAL PEOPLE.