Smuggler caught with rare turtles and snakes

Smuggler caught with rare turtles and snakes

These rare turtles are among hundreds of wild animals seized from a pickup truck heading to Sa Kaeo on Saturday. (Photo by Sawat Ketngam)
These rare turtles are among hundreds of wild animals seized from a pickup truck heading to Sa Kaeo on Saturday. (Photo by Sawat Ketngam)

SA KAEO — A suspected wildlife smuggler was arrested with more than 500 endangered turtles and snakes seized from his pickup truck in Muang district of this border province on Saturday.

Police stopped the pickup on Route No 359 in tambon Ban Namsab following a tip-off that wild animals would be smuggled to a trafficker in Sa Kaeo.

The search uncovered 489 turtles of various species, 17 soft-shelled tortoises, monitor lizards, three pythons, 12 cobras and 20 other rare snakes, said Pol Capt Kittharet Pitisriprasong, a duty officer at the Muang police station. 

Prat Sriprasert, 39, the driver of the pickup truck, was arrested on charges of illegal possession, illegal trading and torturing protected wildlife.

The suspect confessed he had been hired to smuggle the endangered turtles and reptiles to a trader in Sa Kaeo.

Police said turtles and soft-shelled tortoises were in high demand in Cambodia where eating them is believed to enhance longevity and strength.

The seized wildlife had a face value of about 300,000 baht but would have fetched several million baht if smuggled out of the country, said the officers.


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