Wildlife Crime

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 On August 31, 2560 (2.30 PM) the Director – General of the Customs Department, the Director of Investigation and Suppression Bureau, and the Director of Contrabands Division publicized the seizure of 136 live pangolins and 450 kilograms worth of pangolin scales. The contrabands were smuggled in from the borders of Malaysia and are estimated to have a net worth of 2.5 million baths. The pangolins and scales are registered under Appendix I of CITES, regulations which state that they are not to be bought or sold, and are registered under illegal contrabands under the Wildlife Preservation and Protection Act, B.E. 2535  

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Police in the northern province of Hoa Binh on Wednesday seized 118 pangolins smuggled in a car during a long chase that ended with the police shooting two of the car’s tires.

Officers were chasing after the car for dozens of kilometers after it had refused to stop for a check on Wednesday night, the police said in a statement.

The car subsequently crashed into a motorbike and a parked car, causing slight damage to both vehicles.

The police said they decided to shoot one of the car’s tires after the driver did not stop at a warning shot. He only stopped after two tires of the car were shot flat.

Two men then got out of the car to run away. Police have arrested the driver and are still looking for the other.

A total of 118 pangolins, weighing more than 550 kilograms, were found tied in bags. Five of them were already dead.

Vietnam is home to Javan and Chinese pangolin species, both of which are listed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature as critically endangered, and their populations have fallen rapidly in recent years.

The defenseless anteaters are the biggest victim of wildlife trafficking as their meat is considered a delicacy by some while their scales are used to make boots and shoes. Many also believe that the scales can be used as an effective treat for conditions such as psoriasis and poor circulation in traditional Chinese medicine, despite the lack of scientific evidence.

Education for Nature-Vietnam, one of Vietnam’s few locally based conservation groups, said that the country is a transit point for pangolin trafficking networks.

Hanoi customs on Tuesday found two shipments full of pangolin scales sent to Noi Bai Airport from Ghana. In early March, a shipment from Cameroon to Noi Bai was also found to contain 375 kilograms of pangolin scales.

AFP said in a recent report that around one million pangolins have been poached from Asian and African forests over the past decade, putting them on the list of species at the highest risk of extinction.

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On March 7, 2017, Director General of the Customs Department, Director General of the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation, and Deputy Commissioner General of the Royal Thai Police, released a press statement on the seizure of African ivories. The press statement was held in the 3rd floor conference room of Suvarnabhumi Airport Cargo Clearance Customs Bureau. The 422 pieces of cut ivory were hidden amidst raw gemstones and colored rocks in boxes. The boxes were documented to be carrying solely raw gemstone. The seized contraband weighted a total of 330 kilograms and valued at 17 million Baht in market price. Along with the evidences, 1 suspect was turned in to Suvarnabhumi Airport Police Station for further legal procedures.

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On February 22, 2017, Natural Resources and Environmental Crime Division 1 Police Officials (Royal Thai Police) arrested 1 suspect and seized 7 live Red-whiskered bulbul, 2 Red-whiskered bulbul carcasses, and several equipment. The suspect is amidst the legal charges of illegally possessing and trading of a protected species without proper authorization (selling on Facebook social network). The arrest was made at the bus stop in front of Samitivej Hospital, Somdet Phra Chao Tak Sin Rd, Samre Sub-district, Thon Buri district, Bangkok, Thailand.

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On February 9, 2016, Specialized Border Patrol Police 2312 and 2344 (Ban Phaluka Operation Base, Chanot Sub-District, Wan Yai District, Mukdahan Province) operated in cooperation with Mekong Border Patrol Police 231 and 234 in seizing 188 pieces of Siamese Rosewood (sized 3.51 cubic meters) and 1 Pick-up truck at a storage site beside a residence in Muang District, Mukdahan Province (Thai-Lao PDR border). The seized contrabands were then sent to Investigation officials of Mukdahan Police Station for further legal procedures.