Wednesday, February 10, 2010

San Fransisco, CA man sentenced to jail for smuggling endangered fish

SAN FRANCISCO (BNO NEWS) – San Francisco man on Thursday was sentenced to prison for smuggling and selling endangered species, prosecutors said on Friday.
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Bai Lin Huang, 49, was sentenced to one year and a day in prison, and ordered to pay a $3,000 fine for the illegal smuggling of Asian arowana, an endangered species of freshwater fish.
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Huang pleaded guilty in August 2009 to one count of smuggling and one count of making a false statement. According to the plea agreement, Huang admitted to smuggling in more than two dozen Asian arowana fish on two separate occasions in 2005. He also said that he deceived both wildlife inspectors and U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service agents during the course of the investigation.
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He also provided false documents from China stating that a shipment that contained Asian arowana, disguised as “assorted Koi,” sent to Huang was a mistake, when Huang knew that it was not. Huang further admitted to selling Asian arowana on the black market in the past and commanding up to $2,000 per fish.
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The Asian arowana fish, also known as Asian Boney tongue fish, is native to Indonesia and Malaysia. It is classified as “endangered” under the Endangered Species Act and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora. An individual fish, believed to be a good luck charm in certain communities, can command from $2,000 to $10,000 depending on its size and color. It is illegal to trade in this fish without a permit.
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The prosecution is the result of a multi-year investigation by the United States Fish & Wildlife Service and is tied to other Asian arowana prosecutions this United States Attorney’s Office has pursued with the Service.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Turning sensuous pleasures into a successful business

In most people, "sensuous pleasures sap lofty aspirations." However some business-minded people have been able to turn their "sensuous pleasures" into successful businesses.
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Turning ideal into reality
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Living at the Aulong village in Taiping, Liu Tan Fu has been very keen on rearing aquarium fish ever since he was young.

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With his rich experiences of more than ten years in rearing fish, Liu was well familiar with the nature of fish but the thought of turning his hobby into a business never crossed his mind.

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Until breeding arowanas became a red-hot business in 2005, when he started to have the idea of turning his ideal into reality. He then gradually turned his village home into a fish farm.

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Other than different types of fish tanks in his house, there are also eight large fish ponds. Even his rooms have been turned into indoor fish ponds, leaving only a living room, a dining room and a bedroom for his day-to-day use.

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Must understand the nature of fish

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During an interview with Sin Chew Daily, Liu said breeding fish was considered a hobby to him before this, but after he started breeding arowanas, he found that he had developed a strong passion for this species, not so much because of the wealth and luck that arowanas would supposedly bring, but the lively, glittering scales and the majestic look of arowanas.

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"Breeding arowanas is as easy as breeding other fish provided that we know well about its nature and requirements such as water temperature, feed and how to take care of it."

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"I initially tried to breed arowanas in the aquarium but later due to increased demand, I was forced to build a fish pond at my backyard. Soon later, I even turned the rooms in my house into big ponds to accommodate over 200 arowanas."

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High demand overseas

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He said demand for medium-sized arowanas was high, and this had caused an urge for him to buy some young fish from fish traders for breeding. These arowanas will then be sold to customers after they have grown to about a foot long.

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He added that due to high demand for arowanas from China, Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Indonesia, the prospects of breeding arowanas are good, and a 1-foot long arowana can fetch up to a thousand ringgit.

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"Besides own experiences, I often visit fish exhibitions such as the recent Chinese International Aquarium Exhibition in Guangzhou which has greatly enhanced my knowledge of aquarium fish."

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Precautions against thieves

When asked about the security issue of his arowanas that cost hundreds of thousands of ringgit, he said he had done some precautions against potential thieves such as installing iron gates at every side of the fish ponds as well as the ceiling. He is also installing CCTVs and alarms at home.

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He said he would not consider setting up a large fish farm like other fish traders at this moment, as he was contented with the current situation. (Translated by LIM LIY EE/Sin Chew Daily)

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