Malaysian caught smuggling exotic animals

The Star 23 Jun 17;

BANGKOK: Thai wildlife officers have arrested a Malaysian man attempting to smuggle two baby orang utan, 51 tortoises and six raccoons into the kingdom across its southern border.

The animals were packed into plastic boxes and suitcases loaded into the man’s car, officials said on Thursday.

The 63-year-old was stopped Wednesday as he was attempting to drive through a border checkpoint in Thailand’s southern Songkhla province.

“The suspect said he was hired to transport the animals from (neighbouring) Perlis state in Malaysia to Hatyai (in Thailand) for 1,000 baht (RM127),” said Prach Kongthong, a wildlife officer manning the checkpoint.

The two tiny orang utan were less than six months old and will be transferred to a local shelter, he added.

Orang utan are native to Borneo and Sumatra but they are often illegally smuggled throughout mainland South-East Asia, either for private zoos or as pets.

Most of the 51 rescued reptiles were Indian star tortoises – an endangered species from South Asia coveted for its star-patterned shell.

Thailand has long served as a transit hub for wildlife products bound for major markets like Vietnam and China, where exotic animal parts are often used in folk medicine.

Thai police frequently seize trafficked animals and wildlife products but they usually only catch low-level couriers, leaving the kingpins behind the lucrative trade at large.

In December, Thai police rescued two baby orang utan in a sting operation that saw undercover officers pose as buyers over a smartphone messaging app. — AFP

Perlis Aksem to get details on Malaysian caught for wildlife smuggling in Thailand
ILI SHAZWANI New Straits Times 22 Jun 17;

KANGAR: Perlis National Border Security Agency (Aksem) is checking further into how the baby orang-utans, tortoises and raccoons managed to be slipped out of the country to Thailand recently.

Its commander Syed Basri Syed Ali said the agency will obtain more details on the smuggling of the wildlife and arrest of a 63-year-old Malaysian who was alleged to have transported the animals from Perlis to Hatyai yesterday.

“We will get more information on the incident from our counterpart in Thailand and at the same time work out ways to prevent the incident from recurring in the future.

“If the suspect’s account was true that he was hired to transport the two baby orang-utans, 51 tortoises and six racoons from Perlis to Hatyai, Thailand for 1,000 baht (RM126), we will investigate what was the modus operandi he used,” he said when contacted today.

Syed Basri dismissed the possibilities that the animals, which were found packed into plastic boxes and suitcases in the suspect’s car, were sneaked out via rat lanes in Wang Kelian or Padang Besar.

He said based his observation on the topography of the rat lanes, the terrain was too tough to be accessed by car.

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