What came first, the turtle or the egg?

Con Dao National Park forest managers in the southern province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau on June 17 caught Pham Van Tan, 28, illegally transporting 116 sea turtle eggs.



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Tan allegedly admitted to the forest managers that he had stolen the eggs from Bay Canh Island.

Con Dao Island District Investigation Police on July 27 decided to begin legal proceedings against Pham Van Tan for violating regulations on rare and endangered animals.

But the decision was not approved by the district People’s Procuracy.

In a meeting on the case, Tran Thanh Tam, director of the Con Dao District People’s Procuracy, said that Tan could not be prosecuted, because the Article 190 in the Criminal Code did not have any regulations related to “eggs”. It only had regulations about “animals”.

Tam claimed that turtles’ eggs were not products of turtles, because the eggs were not processed from some parts of the turtles.

Director Tam told Youth newspaper that he asked for guidance from the Ba Ria-Vung Tau People’s Procuracy, and was told that the procuracy could not begin legal proceedings. The law states that evidence must be a product of the animal, for instance a rhino’s horn. People must harm the rhino to take the horn, so the horn was a product of the rhino, he added.

However, representatives from the Forest Management Unit of Con Dao National Park and the district police, a lawyer and a marine researcher shared the view that turtles’ eggs were turtles’ products, because the eggs were laid by the turtles.

Sea turtle is listed as rare and endangered animal. They lay many eggs, but only about one in 10,000 hatch and reach maturity.

VNS

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