3 held for serving up endangered animals
CHALONG: Two men, 45-year-old Chun Mo Yang and 35-year-old Lee Chund, and a woman, Yun Komja, 26, all from South Korea, were arrested yesterday afternoon at a farm on Soi Taead, Chalong, after officers discovered caged animals and a grisly array of animal parts there. Somsak Sanyanuphap, chief of Muang District, along with the Phuket Provincial Forestry Office and Chalong Police Station, raided the small farm after receiving several complaints from people in the area. The complaints alleged that guides were bringing Korean and Chinese tourists to the farm to sample the exotic food. Four reticulated pythons, some baby crocodiles in a glass tank, 12 king cobras and one mangrove snake were found, all still alive. Officers also found a number of souvenirs made from snakes, 428 packs of herbal cobra soup, two freshly-cut feet from an Asiatic black bear – each estimated to be worth 40,000 baht on the illegal food market – capsules made from snakes, 13 frozen king cobras, 13 packs of horns, five boxes of snake fat, a number of boiled cobras, and jars of cobras and king cobras in brine. Altogether, the animals and parts were estimated to be worth 5 million baht. In the house, officers found one of the men boiling a snake in the small kitchen. He tried to escape, but the police arrested him along with the two other Koreans. The three have been charged with possessing endangered animals and failing to obtain a license from the Phuket Provincial Health Office for serving food. All have denied the charges. If convicted, each faces a fine of 40,000 baht and a jail term of four to ten years. The three remain in custody at Chalong Police Station.
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