17th May 2012
Bangkok, THAILAND (May 17, 2012) Thailand’s Nature Crime Police have decided to refuse bail on Thai and Vietnamese suspects who were arrested yesterday for trafficking in wildlife, while they probe their possible criminal connections into four neighboring countries.
The two suspects were arrested yesterday after they smuggled carcasses of two tigers, one leopard and one golden cat from southern Thailand to Bangkok.
Agents from Thailand’s Crime Suppression Division Bureau (CSD) identified and followed a suspicious pickup truck traveling from the Malaysian border in Songkhla Province to a house in Eastern Bangkok. After receiving a warrant, the CSD agents entered the house and discovered the four carcasses. The CSD arrested two suspects, including one Thai and one Vietnamese national.
Results of the ongoing probe will be discussed next week by Thailand’s Wildlife Enforcement Network (Thai-WEN), an inter-agency task force that is part of the regional ASEAN Wildlife Enforcement Network (ASEAN-WEN). Given the regional nature of this case, ASEAN-WEN has been notified and will facilitate information sharing on the case with law enforcement in other countries that are involved.
The carcasses were sent to the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation (DNP) for identification. They will be held there to be used as evidence in an eventual trial.
“The DNP is ready to collaborate with other ASEAN-WEN member agencies and will use the network to bring the masterminds behind this case to justice here in Thailand and in neighboring countries,” said Mr. Damrong Phidet, Director General of the DNP.
Despite less then 3500 tigers remaining in the wild, they remain the target of large international trafficking syndicates responsible for poaching tigers from the wild to be sent to destinations including Vietnam and China. Big cats such as tigers and leopards are prized as trophies, and their body parts are used in Chinese traditional medicine.
For DSWF’s work with FREELAND to save tigers in Thailand click here