Article and picture by THE NATION
Police yesterday discovered the frozen body parts of several tigers and other big cats thought to be destined for buyers in Vietnam and China in a raid on a house in suburban Bangkok.
Two men – one Thai and one Vietnamese – were arrested after police found a freezer containing the parts of at least three tigers, one panther and a wild cat.
“From our initial interrogation, they said they planned to send the animal parts to a Vietnamese buyer waiting in Laos, but the final destinations are in Vietnam and China,” said Police Colonel Apichart Sirisith, Crime Suppression Deputy Commander.
The two suspects face 10 years in prison if convicted on charges relating to the illegal possession of wildlife.
Thailand, a hub of international smuggling, is one of just 13 countries where tigers survive in the wild. Worldwide, tiger numbers are estimated to have fallen to only 3,200 from approximately 100,000 a century ago.
In March Thai authorities seized more than 200 live animals, including tigers and lions among other rare species, in a raid on an illegal wildlife supplier.
Police said that operation was part of a global network importing protected animals from countries in Africa and elsewhere and breeding them for illegal sale.
Last month Thai police caught four men in the act of chopping up a tiger in a Bangkok house. Elephant, zebra, wildebeest and lion remains were also found at the suburban property.
Note from Edwin:
The two suspects can probably get fined at most 40,000 baht (1,000 Euro) and receive a maximum jail-term of 4 years in jail (actually the highest ever sentence given was 12 months suspended). Although the article states that more then 200 animals were seized from a wildlife trader, we have to conclude unfortunately that only 5 tigers were taken from this illegal wildlife trader. right now 15 lions, 2 orangutans, 30 marmosets and 200 more other protected wild animals are still being kept by the trader.