Officials bust Phuket man selling crocodiles on TikTok

The police seized 22 crocs, photo by Phuket Fisheries Office.

Officials busted a Phuket man yesterday who sold baby crocodiles on TikTok.

Officers from the Phuket Provincial Fisheries Office seized 22 freshwater baby crocodiles from the suspect’s house on Moo 8 SriSoonthorn in Thalang district. The officers found the crocodiles in an area in the house with a small pool.

The raid followed complaints that crocodiles were being advertised on TikTok as available for delivery anywhere in the country, according to an official report.

The suspect, 35 year old Theeradej, said that he previously had a legal permit to trade wild animals obtained from breeding, but the permit expired on September 9 last year. Theeradej confessed that he had continued to sell baby crocodiles over the Internet, The Phuket News reported.

Theeradej was charged with illegal possession of protected wildlife under the Wildlife Conservation and Protection Act of 2019.

Crocodile breeding is a popular industry in Thailand, with several farms across the country dedicated to raising crocodiles for their skin and meat. However, the industry has been criticized for its impact on crocodile populations and its inhumane treatment of the animals.

Some farms have been found to keep crocodiles in cramped conditions, and there have been reports of mistreatment and abuse.

In February last year, there was a raid on an illegal crocodile farm in Pattaya. Nong Prue police along with natural resources and environmental officials raided a tourist attraction stealthily raising crocodiles without a permit. The farm had more than 50 Freshwater crocodiles, Pattaya Mail reported.

An employee told authorities that the park bought the crocodiles about two years ago for tourists to feed. They claimed the farm had a lawful permit from the Department of Fisheries. However, they could not produce the permit on request, and all the crocodiles were impounded.

Time will tell when Thai authorities next bust suspects illegally farming and selling crocodiles.

Crime NewsPhuket News

Tara Abhasakun

A Thai-American dual citizen, Tara has reported news and spoken on a number of human rights and cultural news issues in Thailand. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in history from The College of Wooster. She interned at Southeast Asia Globe, and has written for a number of outlets. Tara reports on a range of Thailand news issues.

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