The Forestry Bureau and police raided a Taipei restaurant on Thursday, finding multiple frozen endangered animals and parts that were to be used in meal preparations, UDN reported.
The Xinyi District restaurant Butterfly Dining (彩蝶宴), whose website and Facebook page are currently unavailable, was caught with three small Reeves’s muntjac and two large ones, as well as a Formosan serow head and other animal parts. The restaurant allegedly provided three-cup pangolin (三杯穿山甲) and braised Reeves’s muntjac (紅燒山羌肉).
The Forestry Bureau said that it received complaints about the restaurant last year for allegedly serving pangolin at a banquet. The person who filed the complaint provided a menu that included mentions of pangolin, Reeve’s muntjac and Formosan serow.
The bureau had sought a seven-year prison sentence after receiving the complaint, but the judge ruled that the eight-month-old menu was not sufficient evidence.
The bureau sought to strengthen its case against the restaurant and enlisted the assistance of the police to search the the premises on Wednesday.
The restaurant operators released a statement at 10 pm on Thursday, saying that the incident has nothing to do with the restaurant and that the unauthorized storage of the frozen endangered animals were for personal use, according to Liberty Times. The statement further noted that the restaurant would “strengthen staff management” to avoid future incidents.
The restaurant operators are charged under the Wildlife Conservation Act (動物保育法). The possession of the endangered and protected animals carries a maximum five-year prison sentence and a fine of NT$10,000 (US$338) to NT$1.5 million (US$50,700).
The case is still being investigated to build a case against the restaurant.