Owner of a medicine shop ar­rested for sell­ing wildlife

The Phnom Penh Post - - NATIONAL - Phak Sean­gly

THE owner of a tra­di­tional medicine shop in Kam­pong Speu’s Ph­nom Sruoch district was ar­rested on Mon­day for sell­ing some 16 species of wildlife, in­clud­ing rare and en­dan­gered species.

More than 10 of­fi­cials from the mil­i­tary and lo­cal po­lice and Forestry Ad­min­is­tra­tion, led by Wildlife Al­liance’s Wildlife Rapid Res­cue Team ( WRRT), raided the shop af­ter re­ceiv­ing a tip.

Ou Commune Deputy Po­lice Chief Bou Thy said live pan­golins, Asian wa­ter mon­i­tors, civets and rare tor­toises were be­ing sold by the owner, Siek Socheat, 32, who is ex­pected to be charged soon.

In ad­di­tion, au­thor­i­ties seized 75 an­i­mal parts, in­clud­ing 41 bear claws, 11 boar tusks, 23 dhole teeth, antlers of the vul­ner­a­ble Sam­bar deer, and sev­eral litres of loris and red munt­jac blood mixed with rice wine.

“The shop sells a lot of tra­di­tional remedies, but it also se­cretly sells those an­i­mals,” Thy said.

A Forestry Ad­min­is­tra­tion of­fi­cial, who spoke on the con­di­tion of anonymity be­cause he is not au­tho­rised to speak to the me­dia, said Socheat con­fessed the an­i­mals were brought from out­side the area and that some were hunted in the Ph­nom Oral Wildlife Sanc­tu­ary in Kam­pong Chh­nang prov­ince.

Ac­cord­ing to the of­fi­cial, au­thor­i­ties also seized sev­eral live “star tor­toises”, which are en­dan­gered and not known to be present in Cam­bo­dia.

The an­i­mal re­mains will be burned and liv­ing spec­i­mens will be sent to Ph­nom Ta­mao Wildlife Res­cue Cen­ter in Takeo prov­ince be­fore be­ing re­leased into their nat­u­ral habi­tat, ac­cord­ing to the of­fi­cial.

In a sep­a­rate case on Mon­day, five men were ar­rested in Bat­tam­bang prov­ince by Mil­i­tary Po­lice af­ter be­ing caught trans­port­ing more than 400 kilo­grams of wildlife from Banteay Meanchey to Ph­nom Penh.

The live an­i­mals in­cluded tor­toises, co­bras and whistling ducks.

Na­tional Mil­i­tary Po­lice iden­ti­fied the men as Im Sochea, 35; Pom Savuth, 25; Soe­ung Rotha, 20; and Sieng Huysochea, 20. The owner of the wild an­i­mals was iden­ti­fied as Chou Horn, 50. The men con­fessed they had made 20 trips trans­port­ing the an­i­mals from Poipet town to Ph­nom Penh, ac­cord­ing to the po­lice.

Bat­tam­bang provin­cial Forestry Ad­min­is­tra­tion chief Pit Phearak said the case has not been sent to court yet but said the sus­pects will likely be freed if they agree to pay a fine be­cause the an­i­mals they were trans­port­ing are not rare or en­dan­gered. lesser

SUPPLIED

Of­fi­cials weigh an il­le­gally poached pan­golin dur­ing a bust on Mon­day in Kam­pong Speu prov­ince.

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