September 11, 2006

BC firm charged with illegal import of endangered plants, animal derivatives

VANCOUVER, BC-Environment Canada has charged Wing Quon Enterprises with importing plant species controlled under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) without the required permits and with unlawfully possessing and distributing medicines containing tiger, bear, pangolin, musk deer and rhinoceros derivatives. The 14 charges were laid against the Richmond, BC company in July after an investigation by the department's wildlife enforcement division. Wing Quon was charged with three counts of importing CITES-controlled plant species without a permit, in contravention of section 6(2) of the Wild Animal and Plant Protection and Regulation of International and Interprovincial Trade Act (WAPPRIITA). The company has also been charged with nine counts under Section 8(a) of the Act for unlawful possession of medicines containing tiger, bear, pangolin, musk deer and rhinoceros derivatives and two counts under section 8(c) of the Act related to the distribution of medicines containing tiger and rhinoceros. CITES is an international agreement to regulate trade in specific species of wild animals and plants, as well as their respective parts and derivatives. The Convention is implemented in Canada under WAPPRIITA, with Environment Canada as the lead enforcement agency. Offences under WAPPRIITA are punishable on summary conviction by a fine of up to $50,000 or imprisonment for up to six months, or both. More information is available from Marko Goluza at Environment Canada, 604/209-5815, www.cites.ec.gc.ca.

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