Malaysian ‘Godfather’ of wildlife trafficking jailed in US over rhino horns

Picture courtesy of Bangkok Post.

A Malaysian wildlife trafficker has been confined to prison for a period of 18 months in the United States. The charge against the trafficker, Teo Boon Ching known infamously as the Godfather, is the planned trafficking of hundreds of kilogrammes of rhinoceros horns.

The horns, a result of the illicit poaching of rhinoceroses, are valued at millions of dollars. The rhinoceroses, a species on the brink of extinction, face a severe threat due to such activities.

A court in New York declared the sentence on Tuesday, reports from the US embassy in Thailand suggest.

At 58 years old, Teo was brought from Thailand in October last year under the charges of extradition. He is the sixth individual involved in large-scale wildlife trafficking who has been sentenced recently. These sentences are part of the ongoing efforts by the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York which includes the extradition of multiple individuals from diverse African countries.

Related news

Wildlife trafficking is a serious threat to the natural resources and the ecological heritage shared by communities across the globe, enriching poachers responsible for the senseless illegal slaughter of numerous endangered rhinoceros, declared US Attorney Damian Williams for the Southern District of New York.

Ching belonged to an international crime group. This group was involved in the trafficking and smuggling of rhino horns. The ultimate buyers of these horns were located in various locations, including Manhattan.

In related news, a raid in May in the Cha-am district, Phetchaburi, led to the discovery of 14 deceased macaques and five more in distress, locked up without food or water. The provincial wildlife protection area director, Prawet Sunthornthai, led the wildlife conservation team that searched the rented house in Ban Khao Mainual, tambon Khao Yai, after receiving a tip from a neighbour.

The search followed the arrest of six members of a wildlife trafficking gang in the Muang district of Phetchaburi last week.

Local police found the gang capturing long-tailed macaques in the foothills of Khao Luang, tambon Thongchai. The officers witnessed four men and two women using tranquilliser darts to catch the monkeys before apprehending them and saving over 10 macaques in the process.

The authorities also seized three vehicles, 80 tranquilliser darts, a bag of animal feed, and other items from the group, read more about this news HERE.

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Atima Homtientong

Atima is a dedicated news writer living in Bangkok. With a degree from Mahidol University, she focuses on reporting key issues and happenings around the country. In her off time, Atima enjoys writing and producing music.