PHUKET: A fruit seller has been caught smuggling protected snakes onto Koh Lanta in Krabi province, across Phang Nga Bay from Phuket.
Pin Sangduk, 43, was found with eight live snakes stuffed into fertilizer sacks in the back of his pickup truck, which was otherwise loaded with fruit.
Mr Pin was caught when Sgt Maj Terdsak Rakdaeng of Koh Lanta Police pulled him over and searched his pickup at a checkpoint on Tuesday.
In the sacks were six gold-ringed cat snakes, one Malayan bridle snake and one python.
Sgt Maj Terdsak called Suwat Suksiri, head of the local protected national park Thung Thale Non-Hunting Area, and confirmed that all of the snakes were protected species in Thailand.
Mr Pin told Sgt Maj Terdsak that he was not aware that the snakes were protected.
“I sell fruit at markets on Koh Lanta. I bought these fruits in Nakhon Sri Thammarat. Before I returned to Koh Lanta, my friend who lives in Trang province asked me to take the snakes to a snake show place [on Koh Lanta]. I had no idea that they are protected animals,” said Mr Pin.
Mr Pin was taken to Koh Lanta Police Station for further questioning.
A report of the find was drawn up in accordance with the Wildlife Preservation and Protection Act, B.E. 2535 (1992), but Mr Pin has yet to be charged with any offenses.
— Warisa Temram
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