One of the most common crimes committed against herders is the theft of livestock. So how do law enforcement handle situations like this?
Let’s take example of Tuv aimag (province). It is a large province, 77,000 square km. It is further divided into 27 soums, smaller administrative units. The population of the province is 91 thousand; the livestock population is 4.9 million.
Each soum has a small police unit that is subordinate to the provincial police department. Because of close proximity to the capital, livestock theft and transportation of stolen livestock through the province is common. The Tuv aimag police department has a five-person task force that deals specifically with the theft of livestock.
Last year 878 livestock were stolen in the province and 462 were returned to the owners as a result of police work. The value of stolen livestock was appraised at 375,000 dollars and around 220,000USD worth was rehabilitated. 43 people were arrested in connection to these thefts.
Previously depending on the number of livestock stolen, how was it stolen, if the force was used, previous conviction etc., you could get anywhere from 240–720 hours of community service, to 6months-5 years of imprisonment. The minimum threshold was 8 large livestock (horses, cows) or 24 sheep or goats. If you had no previous conviction, and stole within the limit, you basically had to do community service only.
The law was regarded as too lenient as the theft of livestock didn’t go down. So starting from this year they have reduced the minimum number of livestock to 2 large livestock or 8 small livestock. The community service has been removed all together. Now the sentence starts from 6 months of home arrest to 5 years imprisonment. If you stole as part of a group, it is regarded as organised crime and the sentence is from 5–12 years now. There is no minimum number of livestock in this category.
So lets imagine you are a herder in the Tuv aimag. Your several cows go missing. You would probably climb the nearest mountain with cell signal and call the police. If the police learn fast enough, they would call the provincial border checkpoint and let them know about the missing livestock.
The outskirts of the capital UB also has all kinds of checkpoints: police, special inspection etc. The special inspection agents stop the trucks and check for livestock. Each livestock requires now the Point of Origin papers to enter the capital. Without it, it is regarded as stolen. They are now in the process of digitizing the database to further reduce the crime.
pic: in the picture above, a truck with stolen livestock remains is found.
Originally published at http://mongoliafaq.com on April 8, 2020.