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Wednesday
Jun072017

TRAFFIC trains leading Chinese courier companies to detect illegal wildlife products

Illegal wildlife product distribution by courier is an issue of concern in areas of China © Jonathan Kos-Read Fujian, China, 7 June 2017—this week staff from leading Chinese courier companies learned how to detect illegal wildlife products in their delivery chains during a workshop held by TRAFFIC.

The intricate and sophisticated logistical networks used by courier companies in mainland China are commonly exploited by unscrupulous online traders as a way of distributing illegal wildlife products to buyers.

A recent TRAFFIC report, ‘Wildlife Cybercrime in China’, examines this trend, in particular the shift towards social media as the platform of choice when advertising and selling illegal wildlife products.

The Security Manager from SF-Express' Putian Branch discusses actions they have taken since their 2015 pledge of zero tolerance to illegal wildlife tradeWorkshop attendees included managerial representatives from large-scale courier company SF-Express. Those present were responsible for the operations of over 3,000 frontline couriers working from the Fuzhou, Xiamen, Quanzhou and Putian branches.

In March 2015 SF-Express made a public declaration pledging their zero tolerance towards illegal wildlife trade. “Since then, any staff member involved in transporting illegal wildlife products is fired and reported to enforcement agencies,” said Xu Xinjun, Security Manager at SF-Express’s Putian Branch.

Over 20 other key courier companies such as STO, YTO, ZTO, HTO and Yunda also participated.

To ensure courier companies were aware of national and international regulations, the workshop included training on the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), China’s Wild Animal Protection Law and the China Postal Act.

Examples of recent cases where illegal wildlife products were delivered by courier were presented by Chen Rumao, Director of Crime Detection at Fujian Forest Police, and used to indicate common methodologies employed by criminal networks hoping to avoid detection.

Xiao Yu, Programme Manager at TRAFFIC discussed the rise of online wildlife trade and the link between online platforms and courier distribution. He spoke about the rise of private “social circles” within social media, used as a way of attracting and reassuring buyers.

A Wechat group consisting of experts, enforcement officers and government officials was also created by TRAFFIC during the workshop. The group provides a platform in which couriers can seek technical support regarding suspect wildlife products and report suspicious parcels to relevant authorities.

“TRAFFIC will continue to support courier companies to fulfil their public pledge to say ‘No’ to illegal wildlife trade,” said Zhou Fei, Head of TRAFFIC’s China office.

TRAFFIC would like to thank CEPF and WWF UK for their generous support of TRAFFIC’s work with China’s logistics industry.

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