Man fined for having illegal black bear parts
Monday, Mar 19, 2012 02:13 pm
A B.C. man was fined $5,500 this week after pleading guilty to having two black bear paws while he was in Banff National Park.
Kwok Kei Leung entered the plea Monday (March 19) in Canmore Provincial Court in front of Judge George Gaschler.
Gaschler fined the Cranbrook business owner $5,500 under the Canadian National Parks Act for possessing wildlife parts.
Lake Louise, Yoho and Kootenay field unit superintendent Dave McDonough said the fine for the offence was appropriate.
“We are pleased with the outcome of this incident and we take protecting our natural resources seriously,” McDonough said adding Parks Canada through the Warden service enforces the legislation and also works closely with the RCMP.
The bear paws, he said, are not suspected to have been illegally hunted within the national park.
Federal Crown prosecutor Dawn Poskocil said Leung was pulled over west of Lake Louise on Feb. 8 last year, just past noon in a white SUV that was speeding and passed a tractor-trailer on a double solid line.
She said Leung and passenger Kin Ping Cheung from Hong Kong had travelled from Cranbrook to Calgary and were returning to Vancouver for Cheung to return home.
“The RCMP became suspicious of the reason for their trip and the short duration of such a long trip,” Poskocil said, adding the pair were detained and a search dog used.
The dog indicated a positive result for a controlled substance and the vehicle was searched, resulting in officers finding $11,600 in cash and the two black bear paws in the cargo area.
Poskocil said a substance was also found, but analysis determined it was not a controlled substance.
In a joint submission with defence counsel J.A. Ouellette, she asked for a fine of $5,500 to reflect the fact the offence was planned and deliberate.
“International trade in black bear arts is financially lucrative… it is easily committed and there is a low chance of being caught,” Poskocil said.
Ouellette said Cheung was visiting his 51-year-old friend Leung at the time and if the charges went to trial there were issues with the search.
All charges against Cheung were withdrawn and charges of possession of the proceeds of crime and a controlled substance against Leung were also dropped and the cas is to be returned.
Gaschler noted the fine amount will be credited to the environmental damages fund used for projects that protect or conserve national parks.