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Two Russians Detained In China For Attempted Smuggling Of Bear Paws

Chinese customs officials count the smuggled bear paws in Manzhouli, in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, on June 15.
Chinese officials have detained two Russian nationals for attempted smuggling of 213 bear paws.

Chinese media reports said on June 18 that the men were arrested after customs officers found the bear paws hidden inside the tires of their vehicle crossing the Chinese-Russian border on May 22.

Bear parts are prized in China for their perceived medicinal value, but their sale is illegal.

According to the reports, initial investigations showed the paws were from the brown bear, a protected species in China.

Bear paws are worth 10 times more in China than in Russia and the haul had an estimated value of about $460,000.

Based on reporting by BBC and RIA Novosti