Connect with us


Thai officials target alleged wildlife trade kingpin, seize 330 million baht worth of assets



Photo via Facebook/Freeland

In what some consider a major breakthrough in the ongoing crackdown on the illegal endangered species trade, Thai authorities targeted a suspected wildlife trafficking kingpin, freezing his bank accounts and seizing millions worth of assets.

Thai officials say last Friday’s operation was aimed at the alleged kingpin of the illegal wildlife trade in Asia, Boonchai Bach, who is Vietnamese with a Thai citizenship. His family is said to be heavily involved in a major Asian crime syndicate called “Hydra.”

Thailand is said to be a major transit in the illegal wildlife trade with exotic and endangered animals trafficking in from Malaysia, Indonesia and Africa, and then sent out to China through Laos and Vietnam.

Boonchai was arrested back in 2018 for allegedly smuggling 14 rhino horns worth $1 million USD from Africa to Thailand. Boonchai had been acquitted, which was seen as a major setback for the wildlife trade crackdown.

After Boonchai’s acquittal, Thailand’s Anti-Money Laundering Office investigated the illegal wildlife trade for over a year, according to a press release by the Freeland Foundation. Officials then opened a new case against Boonchai.

Freeland says some registered zoos in Thailand have been a source of illegal wildlife trade, including the Mukda Tiger Park & Farm which faces the threat of permanent closure due to alleged smuggling of tiger cubs.

In an investigation aimed at Boonchai’s alleged operations, police raided several locations in Nakhon Phanom and Chaiyaphum last Friday. Thai authorities seized or froze more than 330 million baht worth of assets including a hotel as well as cash, Buddhist amulets, firearms and wild animals. Thai authorities say bank accounts linked to Boonchai have now been frozen. The Freedom Foundation says suspects have 90 days to explain how they accumulated the assets.

The recent crackdown is a breakthrough in the fight on illegal wildlife trade, the chair of the Freeland Foundation, Steve Galster, says adding that the raids and asset seizures likely hindered the operation.

“Too often, wildlife criminals continue operating with impunity in spite of law enforcement efforts, whether they get arrested or not. Penalties are too light, jail sentences too short – if they go to jail – and anyone who gets arrested just gets replaced.

… But what the AMLO has just done is completely different: they have grounded this syndicate’s operations by freezing and seizing their financial resources. That means they don’t have the time or money to order the killing of more wild animals. This approach needs to be copied and expanded to help wildlife populations recover.”

Freeland Congratulates AMLO for Stopping Wildlife Traffickers by Taking their Money

Posted by Freeland on Wednesday, March 17, 2021


SOURCES: Associated Press | Bangkok Post


Get more from The Thaiger

Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

Click to comment

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

If you have story ideas, a restaurant to review, an event to cover or an issue to discuss, contact The Thaiger editorial staff.

Follow Thaiger by email:

Video6 hours ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Actress Forex 3D scammer released on bail after 3 months behind bars

Crime6 hours ago

Big Joke seizes Tuhao’s private jet in Hua Hin

Phuket6 hours ago

Phuket officials once again report finding no human trafficking on fishing boats

Sponsored13 hours ago

Go global with Upbit Thailand: Worldwide digital asset market in your hands

Thailand6 hours ago

South Korea increases quota of Thai workers next year

Tourism6 hours ago

Indian pervs arrested after harassing tourist in Mumbai

Vietnam6 hours ago

Province in Vietnam boosting tourism with its rich culture

Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Thailand7 hours ago

Teen girl’s ID card request denied as she doesn’t look like her mother

Crime7 hours ago

Body of missing woman found tied to water pump in western Thailand

South Korea7 hours ago

NZ suitcase murders go to court

Thailand7 hours ago

Chinese gangs in Thailand take another hit as “Tony” falls

Pollution7 hours ago

Environmental police arrest 7 over illegal dumping in Bangkok

Crime8 hours ago

Pattaya Police warn city’s taxi riders to behave after sexual assault case

Press Room8 hours ago

Thai-Italian Business Summit highlights the importance of a shared vision

Thailand8 hours ago

Percentage of HIV infections rising among young Thais

Tourism8 hours ago

TAT launches luxury travel package to Thailand for rich South Korean tourists

Thailand1 year ago

Morning Top Stories Thailand | Police to end protests, Human Trafficking | September 14

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism2 years ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism2 years ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism2 years ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11