Dried fish maw seized by Thai customs in smuggling operation

Photo: KhaoSod

A staggering 40.38 kilogrammes of dried fish maw, a species nearing extinction, were seized in a smuggling operation from Mexico, worth an estimated 58 million baht.

Panthong Loikunnan, a consultant for tax development and management, and spokesperson for the Customs Department revealed the Thailand Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Srettha Thavisin, has implemented stringent policies for the Customs Department to combat tax evasion and smuggling of goods that impact the lives, property, and economy of the country. Accordingly, the customs department has heightened security checks on imported and exported goods.

The Customs Office at Suvarnabhumi Airport, on a routine check of imported goods from Mexico, flagged a consignment described as chocolate chips, with a net weight of 65 kilogrammes, suspecting it concealed illicit items. The inspection discovered one box of chocolate chips weighing 26.57 kilogrammes and two boxes of dried fish maw weighing 40.38 kilogrammes.

No import permit was found initially, leading to the confiscation of the goods for further examination. The dried fish maw was sent to a fisheries inspection checkpoint at Suvarnabhumi Airport.

Upon examination, the dried fish maw was identified as that of the Totoaba macdonaldi, a fish species protected under CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) Appendix 1, item 940, according to the Wildlife Conservation and Protection Act, BE 2562 Section 23.

Any individual intending to import or export protected wildlife, bred aquatic animals, controlled wildlife, carcasses of such wildlife, or products derived from such carcasses must have a permit, valued at over 58 million baht, reported KhaoSod.

Panthong further elaborated that such actions constituted a violation of providing incorrect information to evade restrictions and non-compliance with procedures under Sections 202, 244, and 252 of the Customs Act, BE 2560. Additionally, the goods fall under the control of CITES Appendix 1, item 940, under the Wildlife Conservation and Protection Act, BE 2562 Section 23, Fishing Act (2nd Edition), BE 2560, and Animal Epidemic Act, BE 2558. These goods must have a permit before importation.

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Nattapong Westwood

Nattapong Westwood is a Bangkok-born writer who is half Thai and half Aussie. He studied in an international school in Bangkok and then pursued journalism studies in Melbourne. Nattapong began his career as a freelance writer before joining Thaiger. His passion for news writing fuels his dedication to the craft, as he consistently strives to deliver engaging content to his audience.

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