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Couple charged with selling deer parts in two states

Old 07-23-2016, 07:16 AM
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Default Couple charged with selling deer parts in two states

Lancaster Newspaper online…

Lititz restaurant couple charged with selling deer parts on streets of New York,and having deer parts in restaurant
AD CRABLE | Staff Writer
Deer parts in the New China House restaruant in Lititz when it was operated by Shi Lu Eng and Chun Dwong Eng.


Deer heads confiscated from the New China House restaurant during a raid in December 2015.
It began as dumpster diving for discarded deer carcasses at butcher shops in New Holland and Elizabethtown from as far back as 2012.

It ended Friday when Shi Lu Eng, and her husband, Chun Dwong Eng, recent co-owners of the New China House restaurant in Lititz, were cited by the Pennsylvania Game Commission for 17 alleged wildlife violations.

Shi Lu Eng was cited with 15 violations for alleged illegal transport of deer to sell in New York City.

She and her husband were each cited with one count of possessing deer parts with the intent to sell at the Lititz restaurant.

Each charge is a misdemeanor carrying a fine of $1,000 to $1,500 and up to 90 days in jail.

The Engs were to proceed Friday before District Justice Ed Tobin in Lititz.

Attempts to reach the couple at their home in Lititz were not successful.

The Game Commission in December had found 300 to 400 pounds of deer parts, including brains, heads and skinned tails inside the eatery, a fixture in Lititz since 1994.

Shi Lu Eng, 54, and Chun Dwong Eng, 66, both of Lititz, have told New York and Pennsylvania officials that the deer parts were only for their own use.

They have denied that the deer parts were used in any food prepared at the restaurant and sold to customers.

However, Sierra McBroom, 17, of Lititz, a former employee at the restaurant, told LNP that she asked about deer legs in the restaurant and that Eng told her it was “to put the bone in the soup to make it taste better. I believe it was wonton soup.”

Streets of New York

The majority of the wildlife violations stem from Shi Lu Eng being found selling deer parts out of the back of a van on a street in the Chinatown section of New York City shortly before Christmas.

Eng subsequently pleaded guilty and was fined $2,250 in New York County Court in February for unlawfully possessing protected wildlife, importing deer spinal cord parts from outside New York and failing to comply with mandatory tagging requirements.

When approached by New York Department of Environmental Conservation officers, Eng had 30 rib cages of deer and 21 pieces of spine.

After confiscating the illegally trafficked deer parts, New York game officials immediately contacted their counterparts in Pennsylvania.

Raid on Lititz restaurant

The same day, a wildlife conservation officer for the Pennsylvania Game Commission and a food sanitarian from the state Department of Agriculture’s Bureau of Food Safety and Laboratory Services arrived at the Lititz restaurant at 721 S. Broad St.

Greg Graham, wildlife conservation officer for northeastern Lancaster County, said he was shocked to find tubs of deer parts inside the restaurant.

Graham had to go get a pickup truck to haul away all the parts, which he confiscated when Eng could not produce hunting tags or documentation to show that the deer had been legally harvested or that the deer came from a licensed game farm.

RELATED: Investigators: Deer brains, other parts found at Lititz restaurant

Selling deer parts illegal

Since 1900, the federal Lacey Act bans illegal trade of wildlife. It was the nation’s first federal law protecting wildlife in an era when unrestricted hunting, selling for food and demands by the fashion industry had decimated some species.

The Pennsylvania Game and Wildlife Code forbids the sale of meat or other edible parts of harvested game. Venison can be sold if purchased from an approved game farm.

“My first thought was that this was the tip of a poaching ring,” Graham said.

Dumpster diving

But he said his investigation showed Shi Lu Eng had scavenged most of the deer parts from two deer processors in Lancaster County. Initially, Eng approached the butchers and asked for leftover deer parts to feed her dogs, Graham said.

“She would go out to the dumpster, grab a box of parts from the dumpster and leave,” he said. “She was literally dumpster diving.”

Graham said that, in 2012, when the woman kept returning and was found removing parts from dumpsters, the owners of the butcher shops got suspicious and eventually told her to stay off their properties.

But two years later, Eng was again found sifting through an outdoors container at the New Holland processor. That time, the woman offered to pay for the deer parts, Graham said in an interview.

Again, in 2015, Eng was found at night inside a dumpster, Graham said.

In the December raid at the restaurant, Graham seized 10 containers of food in a small cooler in the restaurant’s food-preparation area.

He sent the samples to a state laboratory for testing. Nine came back as beef or pork products and one was deer brains.

It could not be proven the deer parts were used in food sold in the restaurant. But state food sanitarian Patrice Blesneac shut down the restaurant immediately because “the lack of sanitation was at the level of an imminent health hazard,” according to Department of Agriculture spokeswoman Brandi Hunter-Davenport.

The inspection found 18 sanitation violations and the restaurant was closed for two days. Because some of the cleanliness violations had been found before at the restaurant, the department prosecuted the restaurant on eight summary offenses.

On Feb. 6, co-owner Chun Dwong Eng pleaded guilty to the eight violations and was fined $1,300 in the court of District Judge Tobin.

The restaurant, in a former Turkey Hill, is now out of business. The building has been leased to Hazel Lei and Sheng Chen, who opened a new restaurant, called Asian Garden, at the location in May.

It serves Chinese and Malaysian cuisine, said Lei, who is from Malaysia. Chen, her boyfriend, is from China. She said they have been looking for a location to open a restaurant for about nine years.

She said Chun Dwong Eng told the couple that he and his wife were getting out of the restaurant business because of health reasons. He told the couple that business had fallen drastically since the deer parts incident and media stories.

“I hope customers will see new management, new people and new food,” Lei said.

Staff writer Dan Nephin contributed to this report.

Last edited by Oldtimr; 07-23-2016 at 07:28 AM.
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Old 07-23-2016, 07:24 AM
Giant Nontypical
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The small fines they got probably were recouped in just a few days at the restaurant and why they kept right on violating the law. WE need to start cracking down on wildlife violations everywhere and quit giving people a slap on the wrist like usually happens IMHO. At least it appears the deer involved in this investigation were legal kills and not poached.
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Old 07-23-2016, 09:15 AM
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Glad they got caught.
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Old 07-24-2016, 02:18 AM
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Wrist slapping seems to be some things the judges do these days where it is selling deer parts or rape.

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Old 08-01-2016, 05:40 PM
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Seems like a food and drug issue rather than a hunting issue. I haven't bothered with deer for a very long time in the way of processing. I prefer to donate all my deer to a preserve where they turn it into cat food. With unlimited tags and deer out of control, something needs to be done to limit their numbers.
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Old 08-01-2016, 06:47 PM
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meh- better than alley cat.
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