Smuggled pork seizure in Thailand sparks fears of African swine fever

Pictures of the smuggler's van courtesy of The Nation.

Royal Thai Police yesterday blocked a racketeer’s attempt to smuggle 779 kilograms of pork into Thailand from Cambodia.

The suspect, Soroun Suot, was caught driving his white Toyota truck on Highway 359 from Sa Kaew to Khao Hin Sorn, according to police.

The 42 year old Cambodian admitted to receiving the shipment from a contact at the border in the Aranyaprathet district, with instructions to deliver it to a retailer in Bangkok for 5,000 baht.

Soroun was charged under the Customs Act and Animal Epidemics Act and sent for interrogation at Muang Sa Kaew Police Station.

This incident highlights the ongoing problem of pork smuggling in Thailand, which threatens to damage the country’s pig industry. Smuggled pork often comes from countries affected by African Swine Fever (ASF), a highly transmissible viral disease that poses no risk to human health but can decimate swine farms and lead to high rates of death among herds.

Last year, the Swine Raisers Association of Thailand warned that rampant pork smuggling was a major threat to the Thai pig industry. Thailand itself confirmed the presence of ASF in January 2022, when the virus was discovered at a slaughterhouse in Nakhon Pathom.

This is not an isolated case as several other smuggling food cases have been reported in Thailand in the past year.

In February, eight people were arrested for attempting to smuggle 7,500 kilograms of pork into the country. In March, 1,500 kilograms of frozen pork and chicken wings were seized in Nakhon Ratchasima province in the country’s northeast.

In 2018, Thai authorities seized over 10,000 kilograms of smuggled pork from Vietnam, which was found to be contaminated with ASF. And in 2020, the Thai Department of Livestock Development intercepted a shipment of 120 kilograms of pork from Malaysia, which was also contaminated with ASF.

The discovery of smuggled pork highlights the ongoing challenges facing Thai authorities in their efforts to prevent the spread of ASF and protect the country’s pig industry. While it is unclear how much of the smuggled pork has already made its way into the country, the Thai authorities have sent the seized meat for hygienic disposal to prevent any potential spread of the virus.

Smuggled pork seizure in Thailand sparks fears of African swine fever | News by Thaiger

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Bob Scott

Bob Scott is an experienced writer and editor with a passion for travel. Born and raised in Newcastle, England, he spent more than 10 years in Asia. He worked as a sports writer in the north of England and London before relocating to Asia. Now he resides in Bangkok, Thailand, where he is the Editor-in-Chief for The Thaiger English News. With a vast amount of experience from living and writing abroad, Bob Scott is an expert on all things related to Asian culture and lifestyle.