Saskatoon restaurant owner fined $29,120 for buying illegal bear gallbladders and paws

A Saskatoon restaurant owner must pay a $29,100 fine after being convicted of buying illegal bear parts.

Lianhua Chi, 55, made purchases on seven separate occasions

The judge said we have an obligation to protect wildlife. (Jeff McIntosh/Canadian Press)

A Saskatoon restaurant owner must pay a $29,100 fine after being found guilty of illegally buying bear gallbladders and paws.

Judge Bruce Bauer fined Luanhua Chi, 55, in Saskatoon provincial court on Tuesday. He gave her three years to pay.

Chi had been found guilty at trial this fall of buying the animal parts on seven occasions from undercover officers between December 2016 and August 2017. Officers testified they had originally made contact with her in November 2016 at her restaurant Jeju Korean BBQ.

Prosecutor Matthew Miazga argued for a stiff fine, saying Chi knew that what she was doing was illegal and that she made purchases on multiple occasions.

Miazga also noted that Chi tried to minimize her role in what happened, placing blame elsewhere whenever possible.

Chi had a chance to speak to the court through an interpreter.

"I learned a hard lesson and I will remember it," she said.

She added that she never bought the parts for profit and that it was actually her cooks who were doing the buying. She also suggested that her limited grasp of English prevented her from understanding that it was an illegal activity.

Bauer noted that Chi's English was good enough that she could talk to, and understand, the undercover officers during the purchases. 


Dan Zakreski is a reporter for CBC Saskatoon.