Swine surprise: Task force uncovers pork smuggling scheme in Thailand

Photo courtesy of KhaoSod

A recent expose by the Phaya Naga Special Task Force revealed a significant new piece of evidence linking a smuggling operation importing illicit pork into Thailand. The discovery was announced by Thanadol Suwannarat, advisor to the Minister of Agriculture and Cooperatives and deputy commander and spokesperson of the Phaya Naga task force.

At 1.30pm today, the task force prepared to present this evidence to the representative of the Central Investigation Bureau at the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives.

The Phaya Naga task force, established under the policy of Major General Thammanas Prompao, Minister of Agriculture and Cooperatives, is actively combating the smuggling of illegal agricultural products, a criminal activity that severely impacts local farmers and the national economy.

Today at 2pm, the unit is set to submit a report to the Central Investigation Bureau, finding that critical import documents for aquatic animals, including 20 health certificates suspected of being forged to evade authorities, were used by three importers who are under investigation by the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) among 11 entities.

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The task force’s current actions include legal proceedings against false declarations to officials and entering false computer data, which can jeopardize national security, public safety, and economic stability, or cause public panic, as per Sections 14(2) and 264 of the Computer Crime Act, B.E. 2550, and its amendments.

Additionally, Somchuan Ratanamangclanon, Director-General of the Department of Livestock Development, mentioned that several government officials from his department are implicated in importing contraband. Disciplinary investigations have been completed in four out of approximately eight or nine cases.

Director-General of the Department of Fisheries, Buncha Sukkaew, highlighted that after prosecuting operators for illicitly importing 161 containers of pork, a random inspection of 21 leftover containers at the Customs Office at Laem Chabang revealed that one container had pork parts mixed with declared fishery products.

War room

To eradicate illegal imports and ensure the integrity of documentation, the Phaya Naga task force has established a War Room with experts from the Department of Fisheries and the Department of Livestock Development to jointly conduct an in-depth investigation. They have been examining the import documentation submitted for fishery products between 2021 and 2023, uncovering instances of health certificates with inconsistencies, suggesting potential forgery to bypass import permissions, reported KhaoSod.

To trace the source of the illegal goods, authorities are reaching out to countries of origin, such as Brazil and Spain, to investigate their involvement in the smuggling operations. The initial approach is to resolve the situation at the departmental level, but if progress stalls, higher government intervention may be sought for clarity on the issue of contraband in Thailand.

This new evidence underscores the ongoing battle against the illegal agricultural trade, which not only undermines legitimate producers but also poses significant risks to public health and the economy. The coordinated efforts of the Phaya Naga task force and related departments highlight the determination to address these issues at both national and international levels.

pork smuggling
Photo courtesy of KhaoSod

In related news, 75 tons of rotting beef sold at local markets; legal steps against firms and officials for illegal beef import.

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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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