Police arrest tiger cub smugglers in Central Thailand

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Police seized a four month old tiger cub in a car park in the central province of Nonthaburi yesterday. Three men wanted on arrest warrants were arrested on suspicion of possessing and trafficking protected wildlife without permission. All three men confessed to importing the tiger cub from Laos.

The cub was found in a basket inside a Honda pickup truck at Central Westgate Mall car park in Bang Yai district of Nonthaburi province yesterday. Three men wanted on arrest warrants issued by the Criminal Court on April 5 were arrested – 23 year old Peeraphon, 30 year old Pornthiwa and 41 year old Chatri [surnames withheld by police].

A group selling prohibited wildlife was discovered operating online so the Wildlife Justice Commission (WJC) and the Royal Thai Police joined forces to investigate with help from officials from the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation.

The investigative team posed as customers hoping to purchase a tiger cub. The tiger smugglers gave them a price of 400,000 baht for the cub and arranged to meet them at Central Westgate Mall car park to make the transaction and hand over the tiger cub, estimated to be 4 months old.

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As soon as police discovered the tiger cub they arrested the men under suspicion of possessing and trafficking prohibited wildlife without permission and took them to Bang Yai Police Station. All three men confessed to smuggling the tiger cub from Laos through a natural border crossing. After that, the tiger was transported with fighting chickens to Nonthaburi, the men said.

The men described their roles in the operation. Chatri sourced the tigers from Laos and Peeraphon and Pornthiwa looked for customers in Thailand.

Police seized the tiger cub and handed it over to the Wildlife Conservation Office Thailand. The cub will undergo DNA tests to further investigate its origin.


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Leah is a translator and news writer for the Thaiger. Leah studied East Asian Religions and Thai Studies at the University of Leeds and Chiang Mai University. Leah covers crime, politics, environment, human rights, entertainment, travel and culture in Thailand and southeast Asia.

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