Thai authorities seize over 1000 endangered tortoises

Picture courtesy of Dziana Hasanbekava from

In the latest crackdown on the illegal wildlife trade, six individuals were apprehended in the southern province of Chumphon, Thailand, for possession and transportation of a significant number of endangered species.

The suspects were found with over 1,000 radiated tortoises and dozens of lemurs in their possession, intended for sale in Hong Kong, South Korea, and Taiwan, according to the authorities.

The head of the Natural Resources and Environmental Crime Suppression Division, Police Major General Wacharin Pusit, detailed the arrest, which occurred early yesterday, May 1. The suspects, four men and two women were intercepted at a hotel in the Mueang district of Chumphon with six pickup trucks containing 1,076 radiated tortoises and 48 lemurs. This constitutes the largest seizure of wildlife in a single operation, as disclosed by the commander.

The 31 year old suspects, Pichitpol Sriduangmaneechai, 39 year old Jitrin Pumalee, 29 year old Ong-art Sriduangmaneechai, 39 year old Weeriya-on Pumalee,43 year old Thaweepong Jampatong, and 33 year old, Juthamas Jitjaeng, all denied the charges against them.

Pol. Maj. Gen. Wacharin stated that the animals, originally from Madagascar, were smuggled into the southern province of Satun via Sumatra. The suspects were linked to an international wildlife trafficking network.

“Without interception in Chumphon, these animals would have been transported to Bangkok and subsequently smuggled to Hong Kong, South Korea, and Taiwan.”

Radiated tortoises are considered auspicious in several cultures and command high prices on the black market. In Thailand, a single radiated tortoise can fetch up to 100,000 baht. However, in places like Hong Kong, the price can skyrocket to 1 million baht.

This arrest underscores the relentless efforts by Thai authorities to combat the illegal wildlife trade, which not only threatens biodiversity but also fuels organised crime and poses risks to public health through the potential spread of zoonotic diseases, reported Bangkok Post.

In related news, the Thai government is delaying the wage hike, The Thai government has postponed the anticipated increase in the minimum daily wage to 400 baht. The rise was initially set to take effect on Labour Day but the government will now await the outcome of a tripartite committee meeting on May 14.

Crime NewsThailand News

Mitch Connor

Mitch is a Bangkok resident, having relocated from Southern California, via Florida in 2022. He studied journalism before dropping out of college to teach English in South America. After returning to the US, he spent 4 years working for various online publishers before moving to Thailand.

Related Articles