Two suspected wildlife smugglers detained with 1,000 animals


NONG KHAI, July 5 – Two wildlife smugglers on Tuesday were arrested in the northeastern province of Nong Khai while transporting 1,000 wild animals worth a half million baht (about US$1700) in Pak Khat district, according to Pol Col Niwat Duangcharat of Fao Rai Police Station.

Personnel from Forest Protection Unit 1 and Nong Khai police arrested Natthawit Kampathick and Jutuporn Tonglong near the Mekong River in Fao Rai district.

While inspecting their vehicle, the authorities discovered about a thousand wild animals hidden inside 186 plastic containers, including 85 boxes of monitor lizards, 17 boxes of pythons and 84 boxes of rat snakes.

The detainees said they were hired for Bt1,000 (about $30) each by a wildlife trafficking agent in  Autthaya, to transport and send the wildlife to the Mekong River where other agents would take the animals to Laos, and transhipment to customers in Vietnam.

Mr Natthawit and Mr Jutuporn were charged with some illegal wildlife-related actions.

Meanwhile, some of the confiscated animals will be freed in forest areas of Chaiyaphum’s Phu Khieo district and others will be sent to a zoo in Khon Kaen.