China prosecuted more than 15,000 people for wildlife-related crimes in the first nine months of the year, up 66% from 2019, state prosecutors said, as authorities moved to enforce a trafficking ban imposed after the COVID-19 outbreak, reported Reuters.
The Supreme People’s Procuratorate said in a statement published on its website on Monday that nearly 7,000 of the total arrests involved the violation of fishing restrictions. Around 4,000 people were prosecuted for illegal hunting and 3,000 for illegally purchasing, transporting and selling endangered wild animal products, said Reuters.
The procuratorate warned that a large proportion of the illegal wildlife business had shifted online, with traders using e-commerce platforms to sell prohibited wild animals. The “exotic pet” trade was also a rising challenge, it added.