TONGJIANG: Authorities have busted a bear paw smuggling ring in northeast China’s Heilongjiang Province, arresting five people and seizing 169 bear paws, local customs officials said on Friday.
Customs officers in the city of Kiamusze received a tip-off that a stash of bear paws had been smuggled into China through the border city of Tongjiang and transported to the provincial capital Harbin.
Kiamusze customs officers arrested three suspects in Tongjiang and another in Harbin. A fifth suspect was arrested in Raohe County, bordering Russia.
A total of 138 brown bear paws and 31 black bear paws were also seized.
Earlier, in May, 213 bear paws, the largest number ever seized by customs officials in China, were intercepted at the border city of Manzhouli in north China’s Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region.
Bear paws are used as ornamental gifts, ingredients in rare cuisine and for medicinal purposes.