The highway police in Nakhon Ratchasima arrested smugglers of 47 macaques, destined for China where they will be served as a delicacy and can fetch up to 10,000 baht each.
The highway police stopped a black pick-up truck with a Nakhon Ratchasima registration plate for a search after being tipped off about the smuggling of a large number of macaques. The search found 47 macaques crammed in plastic cages on the back of the pickup truck. They arrested two men and rescued the animals. One of the rescued monkeys is sick as it was in the cage packed with too many macaques.
Both men confessed to transporting the macaques from Ratchaburi province and were bound for the border province of Nong Khai in the Northeast where the macaques would be smuggled out of the country.
They said they were unaware that macaques are protected wildlife. Both men have been charged with possessing and trading protected wildlife without official permission.
They have been detained and sent to the local police station for legal proceeding. The rescued macaques will be handed over to officials of the National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation Department and will be taken care of at a wildlife center until the case ends. (TNA)