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Former Chinese Actress Arrested for Illegal Wildlife Trade

By Staff Reporter | Jan 07, 2015 07:00 PM EST
A Helmeted Horbill Bird
A Helmeted Horbill bird, one of China's endangered species

A former Chinese actress was arrested by authorities for her alleged involvement in the illegal purchasing, transporting and selling products made from rhinoceros horns and endangered hornbill birds.

A report published by the West China Metropolis Daily only identified the suspect as Yang Xiaoxiao (alias), a former Chinese actress. Details about the profile of the actress were not immediately disclosed.

The purchase and sale of products made from rare and endangered species without permission is illegal in China.

Sichuan province police records showed that Yang, an alias, was involved in the selling of two heads of endangered helmeted hornbill bird that he posted on her WeChat account on October 21, 2013.

Yang's friend, identified only as Tu Yuechuan, purchased the head for 9,000 Chinese yuan, or about US $1,447, the report said. That was not the last time Yang got involved in the illegal trade.

From October 2013 to February 2014, Yang and Tu made several deals on products made from ivory or rhinoceros horns, the police said. She even made a profit of 320,000 Chinese yuan (US $51,000) after selling a bowl and a cup made from rhinoceros horn.

The former Chinese actress also profited over 810,000 yuan (US $130,000) after selling an ivory statue of Avalokitesvara, a Buddhist figure.

By September 2014, Yang sold illegal products worth more than 1.3 million yuan, generating profit of about 450,000 yuan (US $72,000).

The money was paid online via bank transfer in an attempt to keep it secret.

Details on how the police were able to intercept Yang's illegal online deals were not immediately made public.

Police in Sichuan province caught eleven people, including four buyers and seven middlemen, illegally purchasing, transporting and selling products made from rhinoceros horn, ivory and the heads of helmeted hornbills.

Police confiscated over 1,200 products made from these endangered species, at a valuation of over 3 million yuan.

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