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Fishermen kill protected dolphins as teeth ‘ward off evil spirits’ 

Fishermen slaughter two protected dolphins so they can use the animals’ teeth to ‘ward off evil spirits’

  • The eight culprits in China wanted to wear the dolphins’ teeth to avoid demons
  • State media said the idea is a superstition believed by people in their hometown
  • Police said the gang ‘cruelly killed’ Risso’s dolphins, a protected animal species
  • Two of the suspects have been arrested while the rest are on bail pending a trial 

A group of Chinese fishermen have slaughtered two protected dolphins after catching them at sea to obtain the mammals’ teeth.

The eight culprits allegedly wanted to wear the dolphins’ teeth in the hope of warding off evil spirits – a superstition believed by people in their coastal hometown.

Police have arrested two of them on suspicion of killing wild animals while the rest are on bail pending a trial, according to state media.

Police have arrested two of them on suspicion of killing wild animals while the rest are on bail

A group of Chinese fishermen have slaughtered two protected dolphins (above) for their teeth. Police have arrested two of them on suspicion of killing wild animals while the rest are on bail

The eight culprits allegedly wanted to wear the dolphins' teeth (one of them pictured) in the hope of warding off evil spirits - a superstition believed by people in their coastal hometown

The eight culprits allegedly wanted to wear the dolphins’ teeth (one of them pictured) in the hope of warding off evil spirits – a superstition believed by people in their coastal hometown

The suspects caught the pair of Risso’s dolphins between November and December last year in the East China Sea off the province of Fujian, reported People’s Daily citing police.

Police from the Quanzhou Coast Guard said that the perpetrators had ‘cruelly killed’ the mammals, a second-class protected animal species in China.

One of the leading suspects, known by his surname Zhan, initially told the police that the dolphins had already been dead when they caught them.

Zhan claimed that he cut up the dolphins for their meat, but the police suspected that Zhan had lied about his motives, one officer told Pear Video. 

Police from the Quanzhou Coast Guard in Fujian province said the perpetrators had 'cruelly killed' two Risso's dolphins, a second-class protected animal species in China (file photo)

Police from the Quanzhou Coast Guard in Fujian province said the perpetrators had ‘cruelly killed’ two Risso’s dolphins, a second-class protected animal species in China (file photo)

After hearing about the locals’ superstition about dolphins’ teeth, officers asked Zhan about the false belief out of the blue during an interrogation.

The question caught the suspect off guard and led him to confess to the killing.

Zhan admitted that he and the others had decided not to release the dolphins back to the sea to kill them for their teeth.

An officer from the Quanzhou Coast Guard said that one suspect, Zhan, admitted that he and the others had decided not to release the dolphins back to the sea to extract their teeth

Quanzhou police caught all of the eight suspects in March

An officer from the Quanzhou Coast Guard said that one suspect, Zhan, admitted that he and the others had decided not to release the dolphins back to the sea to extract their teeth

A picture released by state media People's Daily shows one culprit being questioned by police

A picture released by state media People’s Daily shows one culprit being questioned by police

Anyone who is found guilty of killing wild animals can be sentenced to up to 10 years in prison if the circumstances are serious, according to the Chinese criminal law.

If the individual’s action is deemed to have ‘particularly serious consequences’, he or she can be jailed for more than 10 years. 

Quanzhou police caught all of the eight suspects in March. Two of them have been formally arrested, while the other six are on bail.

The case is under further investigation.

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk