Laos’ special economic zone a black hole for illegal wildlife trade

The Kings Roman casino complex in Laos’ Special Economic Zone in Boten province has been operating for over 5 years since it was approved by the Lao government in 2007. There has been many reports and investigations made and submitted to various conservation organisations and enforcenment agencies into its illegal wildlife trade. Laos is also a signatory to the ASEAN Wildlife Enforcement Network yet there has to date been absolutely no attempt to address the illegal trade and consumption of endangered species here.

The Environmental Investigation Agency’s (EIA) latest report, Sin City: Illegal Wildlife Trade in Laos’ Golden Triangle Special Economic Zone, says customers “can openly buy endangered species products” in the Golden Triangle Special Economic Zone on the border between Laos, Myanmar and Thailand in Laos’ Bokeo province. Critically endangered tigers, bears and many other species are openly dispensed and consumed by mainly Chinese clientele who travel freely to the province to gamble and consume exotic wildlife.

An Asiatic black bear at the Kings Roman Casino complex in Laos' special economic zone, Boten province. Copyright 2015 © Adam Oswell

An Asiatic black bear at the Kings Roman Casino complex in Laos’ special economic zone, Boten province. Copyright 2015 © Adam Oswell

You can download the EIA report here: http://eia-international.org/wp-content/uploads/EIA-Sin-City-FINAL-med-res.pdf