Tag Archives | Black Markets

China’s Economic Boom Fueling Poaching In Africa

ElephantGreg Neale and James Burton writes in the Guardian:

Elephant poaching in Africa and Asia is being fuelled by China’s economic boom, according to a study of the ivory trade.

Authors of the new report found that the number of ivory items on sale in key centres in southern China has more than doubled since 2004, with most traded illegally. The survey comes amid reports of a dramatic rise in rhino poaching across Africa, and a spate of thefts of rhino horns from European museums and auction houses.

Based on the results of their survey, the ivory researchers are calling for China to tighten its enforcement of ivory trading regulations, saying that such a move is vital to reduce the number of elephants that are killed illegally. The report is published on the eve of a meeting in Geneva of the Cites organisation, which is responsible for controlling trade in endangered wildlife species.

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Chinese Teenager Sells Kidney For iPad

iWTFA teenager in China has sold one of his kidneys in order to buy an iPad 2, Chinese media report. BBC News reports:

The 17-year-old, identified only as Little Zheng, told a local TV station he had arranged the sale of the kidney over the internet.

The story only came to light after the teenager’s mother became suspicious.

The case highlights China’s black market in organ trafficking. A scarcity of organ donors has led to a flourishing trade.

It all started when the high school student saw an online advert offering money to organ donors. Illegal agents organised a trip to the hospital and paid him $3,392 (£2,077) after the operation. With the cash the student bought an iPad 2, as well as a laptop.

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NYC Bill Would Criminalize Buying Knockoff Goods

Counterfeit Rolex Watch, dsc4577 5f270The Wall Street Journal reports:

NEW YORK — A city lawmaker said Tuesday she’ll introduce a bill to criminalize the purchase of counterfeit designer goods including handbags and watches.

The bill proposed by City Councilwoman Margaret Chin would impose penalties of up to a year in jail or a $1,000 fine for buying knockoffs.

“I urge visitors that come to New York to come for the authenticity, not to buy these fake bags or electronics,” Chin said. “We have local designers that create unique items at affordable prices, and they’re available. So don’t just come here for the knockoffs.”

A 2004 report by then-city Comptroller William Thompson found that about 8 percent of the approximately $287 billion in counterfeit goods sold in the United States annually is sold in New York City, resulting in more than $1 billion in lost tax revenue.

It is already illegal to sell fake designer goods, but Susan Scafidic, head of the Fashion Law Institute at Fordham University, said that if Chin’s bill passes New York would be the first U.S.

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Dogs Playing Poker: Leave The Gamblers Alone!

Cassius Marcellus Coolidge, 1903.

John Stossel writes on Fox Business:

Yesterday ESPN announced they will remove all poker-related programming and advertising (except for this year’s World Series of Poker).

Wimps. And the gambling industry is no better. Industry lobbyist, former senator Al D’Amato, claims “[poker] is a game of skill” and therefore should not be subjected to federal anti-gambling laws. “Regulate it, but don’t ban it,” he says.

Give me a break. The cowardice of business in standing up for free markets never ceases to amaze me.

What wimps! Why don’t they have the courage to say the government has NO business intervening in an activity between consenting adults? I’d hope the poker lobby and the leading sports network would defend the game and its players. Instead they push legal tricks or distance themselves from poker.

The feds accuse the companies of bank fraud and money laundering…

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Black-Market Trinkets From Space

The Willamette Meteorite, the largest ever to be found in the United States.

The Willamette Meteorite, the largest ever to be found in the United States.

The New York Times reports:

Ebay and other Web sites pulse with hundreds of sales pitches. “The pieces below have an exceptional patina,” a site called Star-bits.com said of 10 pictured fragments.

The ads are for chunks of meteorites, bits of asteroids that have fallen from the sky and are as prized by scientists as they are by collectors. As more meteorites have been discovered in recent years, interest in them has flourished and an illegal sales market has boomed — much to the dismay of the people who want to study them and the countries that consider them national treasures.

“It’s a black market,” said Ralph P. Harvey, a geologist at Case Western Reserve University who directs the federal search for meteorites in Antarctica. “It’s as organized as any drug trade and just as illegal.”

The discovery of a rich and historically significant meteorite crater in southern Egypt, just north of the Sudanese border, has shown the voracious appetite for new fragments.

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