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Tonne of bears’ paws arrested at customs office in Far East

January 30, 2:19 UTC+3 VLADIVOSTOK

The malefactors were detained near the township of Platono-Alexandrovsky of the Khanka district

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© Vladimir Sayapin/TASS

VLADIVOSTOK, January 30. /TASS/. Operatives from a customs department in Russia’s Far-Eastern Primorsky [Maritime] territory have detained three cars loaded with contraband commodities including weaponry, munitions, amber and a tonne of bears’ paws, as well as body part of at least four Siberian tigers, which are entered in the Book of Rare and Endangered Species, the press service of the Amursky Tigr [Siberian Tiger] center said on Monday.

"The stopped two minivans and an off-roader with a car trailer, with the citizens of Russia and China acting as drivers," the report said. "They had prepare a large consignments of bodily parts of animals for taking out of Russia - more than a tonne of bears’ paws [about 870 paws], the ‘grease’ and reproductive system of frogs, and the body parts of at least four Siberian tigers."

"Also loaded in the cars were firearms and air weapons with munitions, as well as amber," the press service said."

The operatives carried the operation on the night from January 26 to January 27 but its details could be revealed only on January 29. The malefactors were detained near the township of Platono-Alexandrovsky of the Khanka district.

"This beyond any doubt is a success," the Director General of the Amursky Tigr Center, Sergei Aramilev said. "The largest channel of smuggling of animals’ bodily parts across the border that was registered ever here has been blocked."

"Unfortunately, some aspects of the operation can’t be disclosed in the interests of investigation but I’m confident this incident can be form the basis of storyline for a film," he said.

Aramilev said the consignment of animals’ parts had been gathered over several years. While two of the four tigers, the parts of which were tracked down by the customs operatives, died more than three years ago, another two animals were killed quite recently.

The detained smugglers will most obviously face the charges with smuggling.

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