VietNamNet Bridge – Making "fevers" for leeches by increasing the prices, after collecting leeches at the old prices, Chinese traders sold leeches to Vietnamese traders at high prices and disappeared.
Mr. Luu Van Thang - a leech collector in Dong Hoi village, Dai Dinh Commune, Tam Dao district, Vinh Phuc province. Photo: VNA
According to Mr. Pham Tung Lam, Vice Chair of Dai Dinh Commune, Tam Dao district, Vinh Phuc province, the commune has 5-6 households collecting leeches and about 100 households involve in catching leeches for sale, reported the Vietnam News Agency.
They began collecting and catching leeches from mid-2012. Each leech collecting household buys from 30 to 40 kg of leeches per day or up to 100kg per day when the weather was favorable for leech catching.
The current prices for leeches, offered by leech collectors in Dai Dinh commune, is up to VND700,000 to VND750,000 ($30-35) per kilo. One person can catch from 0.8 to 0.9 kg of leeches per day, earning VND500,000-VND600,000 per day.
According to local officials, Dai Dinh people go to Hanoi, Thai Nguyen, Phu Tho, Hoa Binh, Tuyen Quang ... to catch leeches to sell to some local households. Both the leech catchers and collectors do not know the purpose of leech purchase.
Mr. Luu Van Thang, a leech collector in Dong Hoi village, Dai Dinh Commune, said that 80 percent of the households in the village catch leeches. He buys from 30-40kg of leeches per day on average and up to 100kg on the days with favorable weather for leech catching. Thang earns profit of VND30,000 to VND50,000 per 1kg of leeches.
Thang said he and other leech collectors in Dai Dinh do not know who are the final collectors of leeches but the leeches will be sold to China.
As the prices for leeches are high, some people “feed” leeches with cattle fat.
The “fever” for leeches spread throughout the southern and central provinces of Vietnam in late 2012 and now it has come to Hanoi.
Many people living in the suburban areas of Tu Liem district, Hanoi in these days have neglected their work to catch leeches to sell for VND800,000 to VND1 million ($40-50) per kilo.
Mr. Nguyen Van Cong, a resident of Thanh Ba, Phu Tho province, said he had been in Hanoi for over a week to catch leeches. His cousin has been here for nearly one month.
"Every day, if I work hard, I can catch 300-400gr of leeches, earning VND200,000-VND300,000," he said.
When they were asked how they knew that Chinese traders collect leeches in Vietnam, they said the information was orally transmitted from one to another.
Before that, the “movements” of collecting leeches to sell to Chinese traders appeared in some southern provinces such as Tay Ninh City and HCM City, then spread to a number of central provinces and now it has come to Hanoi. Many farmers neglected their fields to catch leeches.
Previously, in the central province of Nghe An, with rumors that Chinese trader buy leeches to make medicine, anonymous traders offered VND180,000-VND200,000 for one kilo of leeches, many people in Que Phong and Quynh Luu districts flocked to the field to catch leeches.
Mr. Nguyen Van An, a farmer in Thanh Lang commune, Yen Thanh district, Nghe An, said: "Initially leeches were purchased for VND180,00 to VND200,000 per kilo and then to VND400,000-VND500,000 and even VND700,000-VND800000 per kilo. People flocked to the low plains to catch leeches. Many people dug ponds to breed leeches.
Mr. Ho Huu Dung in Que Phong town, Nghe An, is now in debt when hundreds of dried leeches are in stock because Chinese trader suddenly disappeared.
Dung said: "Initially, traders asked us to collect leeches for them at the price of VND200,000 per kilo. Then they doubled the price. I purchased hundreds of kilos of dried leeches but they have disappeared.”
It is said that this is a game of Chinese traders. Initially they spent money creating "fevers" for “leechese” by increasing the prices for leeches. After purchasing leeches at the old price, they sold leeches to Vietnamese traders at high prices. When the prices reached the peak, it was the time that Chinese traders sold out their leeches and disappeared, leaving the fields of leeches.