By Sean Lin
Police yesterday uncovered two incidents of poaching and one of illegal logging in a mountainous area close to Ming Lake (明池) in Taoyuan, arresting four suspects.
Seventh Special Police Corps Fourth Division Commander Huang Kuo-pin (黃國賓), said the suspected poaching incident implicated two brothers surnamed Chien (簡). The two were hunting near the 54.6km mark on Provincial Highway No. 7, he said.
They found two rifles, two white-faced flying squirrels (Petaurista alborufus lena) and three red giant flying squirrels (Petaurista petaurista) in the suspects’ vehicle, the officer said.
Huang said that 10 minutes later, they saw another vehicle and when officers stopped the vehicle, a man jumped out of the car onto an embankment and fled.
The officers arrested the driver, surnamed Wu (吳), after discovering four pieces of valuable cypress wood, including a tree knob which is highly sought after. The lumber had an estimated worth of more than NT$1 million (US$31,937) he said.
Huang said that while they were waiting for reinforcements, they saw another man surnamed Chen (陳) driving a truck close by and police inspected the vehicle.
Chen was carrying a rifle and two dead white-faced flying squirrels.
While officers were taking pictures of the seized dead animals, the red giant flying squirrel started moving, apparently having played dead, Huang said.
The flying squirrels are not a protected species but the Chien brothers and Chen allegedly violated the Forestry Act (森林法) by hunting without the permission of the local district office.
Huang said the alleged poachers apparently wanted to use the animals as sacrifices during village rituals.
The four could face multiple charges including stealth, illegal possession of firearms and violations of the Forestry Act and Wildlife Conservation Act (野生動物保育法), Huang said.