The Ministry of Justice Investigation Bureau is second to none when it comes
to unearthing criminal evidence, particularly animal products such as ivory,
tiger penis, rhino horns, and bear gall that were banned after the legislative
Yuan passed the Wild Animal Conservation Law in 1991.
The Bureau has successfully
built an international reputation that has helped to mitigate Taiwan's image
as failing to conserve the natural world.
The MJIB's skills in detecting illicit
animal products began by accident. After the legislative body
passed the Wild Animal Conservation Law in 1991 prohibiting
the import and selling of protected species' derivatives, the responsibility
for enforcement was placed with the Executive Yuan Agriculture Council. However,
the Council was unfamiliar with the identification of these products crippling
its ability to effectively police imports.
When smugglers and sellers of
restricted products were arrested, they often rebuked the investigators
for their inability to prove the genuineness of
in question, investigators were unable to distinguish between legal products
such as some types of bone and contraband goods.
Council of Agriculture
officials took a pile of ivory to the then director of the Department
of Government Ethics under the Ministry of Justice Liu
Chan-hua to ascertain its genuineness. This provided the impetus for
the MJIB to improve
its evidence identification skills.
With financial assistance from the
Executive Yuan, several investigators were sent to the U.S. Ministry
of the Interior Fish and Wildlife Service
for training, when they returned they in turn trained colleagues on
Many prohibited animal products are
used in Chinese medicine, the MJIB was especially keen to develop
the skills to identify bear gall bladders,
of Chinese medicine.
According to statistics, among the products
sent to the Council of Agriculture for identification, 80 percent
of products suspected
to be made from
ivory turned out to be genuine, rhino horn 20 percent, bear gall
bladder 30 percent,
percent of bones sold as tiger's were real.
around the world have urged the public to be cautious when using
Chinese medicine, not only are products made
seriously endangering the survival of many species such as the
tiger, also the methods used to extract the product, such as
bear gall bladder
and inhuman. Products often advertised as containing animal derivatives
such as tiger penis are rarely what they claim to be.