District Court

A Fort Frances man was sentenced July 5 in the Ontario Court of Justice in Fort Frances to pay $9,000 for unlawfully possessing six black bear gall bladders.

Justice of the Peace Jennifer Neill fined Byeong-ok Kim after it heard that on two separate occasions in 2018 Kim bought bear gall bladders from conservation officers at his place of business, reports the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry in a news release.

In certain cultures, there is the traditional belief that black bear gall bladders have medicinal powers, notes release. The Ontario Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act makes it illegal for a person to possess a black bear gall bladder that has been removed from the bear’s carcass. It is also illegal to buy or sell game wildlife, except under specific circumstances.

Kim became the subject of a MNR investigation after information suggested he was buying black bear gall bladders. Detectives with the MNR’s Intelligence and Investigations Section assisted conservation officers in Fort Frances with the special investigation that led to the charges and conviction, the release said.

Conservation officers with the MNR remind the public that buying and selling bear parts is illegal in Ontario.

To report a natural resource violation, call the ministry TIPS line at 1-877-847-7667 toll-free, or contact your local ministry office. You can also call Crime Stoppers anonymously at 1-800-222-TIPS.