Man To Plead Guilty After Charges of Buying Animal Parts, Such As Bear Paws

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A 48-year-old Idaho man will plead guilty to two felonies later this month in a Montana court after being charged with illegally purchasing wild animal carcasses and parts from an undercover game warden, according to several reports.

Yan “Bo” Fong, a former restaurant owner from Pocatello, Idaho, was charged late last year with three felony counts of unlawful sales of a game animal and three felony counts of unlawful possession, shipping or transportation of a game animal or fur-bearing animal.

Montana Department of Justice prosecutors alleged that Fong met with an undercover game warden—twice in 2017 and once in 2018—in the state under the pretense that the warden had illegally obtained wildlife carcasses and parts to sell.

According to plea bargain documents obtained by the Idaho State Journal Tuesday, Fong made an agreement with state prosecutors in Montana’s 5th Judicial District on October 26.

Under the terms of the plea bargain, Fong agreed to plead guilty to one felony count of unlawful sale of a game animal and one felony count of unlawful possession, shipping or transportation of a game animal or fur-bearing animal.

In exchange, prosecutors will dismiss the remaining counts that Fong had been charged with, according to the court documents. The 48-year-old is scheduled to officially change his plea in the court on November 16.

As part of the agreement, prosecutors will request that Fong serve a five-year prison sentence and pay a fine of $15,000. The 48-year-old will also lose his hunting, fishing and trapping privileges for six years.

The case against Fong began after an undercover investigator with the Idaho Department of Fish and Game notified the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife & Parks that the 48-year-old was interested in buying wild animal parts.

Over the course of his three trips to Montana, Fong allegedly spent a total of $3,800 in order to buy 24 bear paws, 11 bear gallbladders, seven bobcats, three mountain lions, three bears and one skin, two deer and one elk.

According to the court documents, Fong said he offered the bear meat and mountain lion meat free to “the tour guide and bus people” and that “Chinese people like the animal meat.”

Bear gallbladders are highly prized in parts of Asia for their use in traditional medicine, while bear paws are considered to be an edible delicacy.

Montana-based news outlet The Billings Gazette reported that Fong’s restaurant has closed after he was charged last year and released on bond.

Newsweek has contacted Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks for comment.

A brown bear
Stock image showing a brown bear. An Idaho man has agreed to plead guilty to two felonies after being charged with illegally purchasing wild animal carcasses and parts, including bear paws.
iStock

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