VIENTIANE, LAO PDR (May 19, 2016) – The following statement was issued today by Deputy Director of the WCS Lao PDR Country Program Santi Saypanya concerning a significant new penal code in Lao to crack down on wildlife traffickers with increased penalties.

 Said Santi Saypanya:

“The Lao National Assembly has ratified a new penal code that increases penalties for wildlife trafficking. At WCS, we applaud our Lao PDR governing officials for taking this important step, which sends a loud message to wildlife traffickers that Lao PDR will not tolerate the use of its ports and markets in illegal activities, which are wiping out wildlife across the globe. At WCS, we are proud to have worked with many partners and the Lao PDR government in an advisory role behind this new law.

“The new penal code increases fines and imprisonment for stealing, having in possession, importing, exporting or trading in any way protected wildlife (as noted by CITES). Those convicted will face three months to five years in prison and fines up to 10,000,000 Kip (approximately 1225 U.S.D.). Imprisonment and fines increase for criminals who are found to be a part of an organized group.

“This action by Lao PDR follows the leadership the government showed on stopping wildlife trafficking in April 2016 when it joined China and Viet Nam at an inter-agency field mission to share experiences, approaches and update the situation on wildlife smuggling networks along the major Indo-Burma trade route. This trade route across IndoBurma is believed to cover the most significant illegal flow of elephant ivory, pangolin scales, tiger bones, and freshwater turtles and tortoises.”




To read more background on illegal wildlife trade issues facing Lao PDR and surround countries, go to the WCS Newsroom here.

WCS (Wildlife Conservation Society)

MISSION: WCS saves wildlife and wild places worldwide through science, conservation action, education, and inspiring people to value nature. To achieve our mission, WCS, based at the Bronx Zoo, harnesses the power of its Global Conservation Program in nearly 60 nations and in all the world’s oceans and its five wildlife parks in New York City, visited by 4 million people annually. WCS combines its expertise in the field, zoos, and aquarium to achieve its conservation mission. Visit: Follow: @WCSNewsroom. For more information: 347-840-1242.