2,556 in wildlife crimes punished

BEIJING: Police across China have investigated 776 criminal cases and 1,804 administrative cases and punished 2,556 people for illegal activities related to wildlife during the novel coronavirus outbreak, said an official. The police departments have worked with other relevant offices in a special campaign to crack down on illegal activities related to wildlife, recovering 88,000 wild animals, said Liu Xuejun with the Ministry of Public Security at a press conference. “We have inspected 293,000 markets, restaurants and other venues during the epidemic,” Liu said. Cases involving wildlife have been effectively curbed, said Liu, noting that most of the cases under investigation occurred in the past, and the number of new cases has dropped significantly. Illegal trade of wildlife has drawn extensive criticism as researchers believe the virus highly likely came from wild animals. China’s top legislature on Monday decided to impose a full ban on illegal wildlife trade. Liu said the police investigated 13,000 cases related to wildlife in 2019. Liu also acknowledged that crime was still taking place in some places and there is still a long way to go to crack down all those activities. The police will step up law enforcement, crackdown on illegal activities related to wildlife in accordance with the law and safeguard people’s safety and health, said Liu. Chinese health authority said Thursday it received reports of 433 new confirmed cases of novel coronavirus infection and 29 deaths on Wednesday on the Chinese mainland. The overall confirmed cases on the mainland had reached 78,497 by the end of Wednesday, and 2,744 people had died of the disease. –Agencies