The last part: Onwards to Hanoi

Date: 10th May, 2010

The driver used a variety of sophisticated methods to evade authorities on the long journey to Hanoi.

Changing the license plates and color of the car
The driver of the car, Hung, has been Huong’s driver for a long time and he knew every stretch of the road; He knew where to avoid authorities and when he needed to take a shortcut. Huong seemed nervous and worried during the long and dangerous trip because if they were caught, a very large amount of money would be lost. As they neared the 5/1Traffic Control Station in Nghe An province, Huong became extremely worried about being detected by the police. Hung told her not to worry as hand-over time was considered the safest. When the car passed through undetected, Huong was visibly relieved. According to Hung, in the past transporting through this station was difficult because the police were very strict.

Hung was born in Nghe An and saved enough money to buy a car to start a business venture driving for VIPs or weddings. When Hung started working with Huong, he studied the route to Hanoi very carefully, from the main road to shortcuts, and even the exact times that hand-overs took place for rangers and police at each station of the journey, in Nghe An, Thanh Ha, Ninh Binh, and Ha Nam provinces. After every successful trip, he is paid 10 million VND, or more if the sale makes a large profit. Hung has become rich from transporting pangolins.

At midnight, Hung suddenly pulled into a large garage in Quynh Luu district in Nghe An province to change the color of his car. In only 10 minutes, the black car becomes white. Hung also changes his license number to avoid the attention of the police.

Reaching Hanoi
When the car reached the Phap Van - Cau Gie Highway, Huong made a call to a known outlet in Hanoi, asking someone to follow her car for safety. When the car entered Giai Phong Street in Hoang Mai district, two cars were waiting to escort us to where the pangolins could be unloaded safely. One car was in front of Huong’s car and the other was following it. The car stopped at a house near the Hanoi Railway Station where the pangolins were quickly moved inside, then checked and weighed. The owner of the outlet, Lam was also a woman, with a distinct sharp voice. After checking the health of the pangolins, Lan began bargaining with Huong: “Is 269 million VND per ton of pangolins OK? Sales are in decline these days and inspections are becoming more frequent”. Huong refused, saying that this batch of pangolins is “nice” so the price would have to be 270 per ton, otherwise she would contact another outlet. Finally, the two sides agreed on a price of 269.5 million VND per ton. Although Huong did not get the agreed price before coming to Hanoi, Huong still made a healthy profit by benefiting from the starch ‘fattening’ technique, making the pangolins heavier than they really were.

Translated by Pham Linh Chi and Nguyen Ngoc Ha on May 19th 2010; Edited by Simone Nance on May 21 st 2010
Please note:  Translated by Education for Nature – Vietnam.  This translation is unofficial in nature.  The Vietnamese language version of this story can be obtained by contacting ENV.

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