Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Inquiry launched into wombat hunting by Chinese high rollers

Inquiry launched into wombat hunting by Chinese high rollers
Image result for Chinese killing wombats
The reported hunting of Victorian wombats by Chinese high rollers has prompted an investigation into the animal's protection.
But the government can't say if anything has been done to immediately stop the wombat killings.
Under questioning from Greens MP Sam Hibbins on Thursday, Victorian Environment Minister Lily D'Ambrosio told parliament that she was alarmed by the recent reports and was waiting on a report from her department.
An inquiry has been launched into the hunting of wombats.
An inquiry has been launched into the hunting of wombats. CREDIT:KEIICHI HIKI
"I have instructed my department to undertake a full investigation into the allegations and reports of what appears to be some very, very disturbing practices," she told question time.When asked by Mr Hibbins if the government would put an immediate halt to illegal wombat killings, Ms D'Ambrosio said she would wait on her department but that "it is an offence to kill, take, control or harm wildlife, including wombats, without authorisations".
The final report is expected to be complete by the end of the year.
Currently wombats can be killed in parts of Victoria for specific purposes without the need for a permit and the review will examine those rules, the distribution and numbers of wombats and the threats they may be facing.
To kill, take, control or harm wildlife without authorisation, however, is a crime and penalties range from fines of $8261 to $39,652 and/or six to 24 months' imprisonment.
Tom Zhou, who according to Nine news reports organised junkets for high rollers at Crown Casino, has been revealed as the owner of a rural property in Murrindindi.
His company's website, which appears to have been taken down, had previously said the first thing tourists should feel in Australia is to be a wilderness hunter in the mountains, in translations from Mandarin.
"Even if you don't have any shooting experience, it doesn't matter. With professional guidance, you will be a great shooter!
"Hares, foxes, wombats, wild ducks, red deer, sambars ... a variety of wild animals to spend a happy holiday with you."
The hunts were uncovered as part of allegations of money laundering at Crown casinos, including that the gambling giant had a "hotline" to Australian consulates to fast-track visa applications for big-spending gamblers flying in from China.
The company strongly rejected the allegations of misconduct.

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