By Rhishja Cota-Larson
A Vietnamese soldier identified as Nguyen Van Quang has been arrested, along with two accomplices, for his involvement in the torture and killing of two grey-shanked douc langurs. Update 01/18/2013: Education for Nature-Vietnam (ENV) reports that the three hunters who caught and sold the endangered langurs to the soldiers have received jail sentences of 28, 24, and 12 months.
Update 08/01/2012: According to the news portal Viet Nam News, Quang has been “discharged from the army for causing the death of two endangered langurs” and his accomplices have “received disciplinary warnings”. Although Vietnamese law states that an offender can be jailed for up to three years for killing an endangered species such as the grey-shanked douc langur, there was no mention of further punishment for Quang.
Global outrage spread across social media and beyond after Nguyen Van Quang posted a disturbing series of photos on his Facebook page. The gruesome photos depict a langur with a cigarette in her mouth (the langur was believed to be pregnant) and show the suspect grinning as he holds the body of the dead langur. At least one of the photos shows a liquid-filled syringe being held near the langur’s mouth while the small primate is being restrained.
Grey-shanked douc langurs (Pygathrix cinerea) are classified as Critically Endangered by the IUCN, with a total population of just 550 to 700 individuals.
AsiaOne reports that the trio is expected to appear at a later date in a military court. The killing is believed to have occurred in the Sa Thay District in the central highlands province of Kon Tum and the suspects say they purchased the langurs from locals.
The head of Tay Nguyen Command’s Military Prosecutor’s, Col Nguyen Van Hai, was quoted in BBC News as saying the investigation was “continuing”.
We’re still continuing our investigation into the case. When we have enough evidence, they (the soldiers) will be dealt with in accordance with Vietnamese military laws. More....