Thai­land ar­rests two for try­ing to smug­gle tiger body parts to Viet­nam

Global Times - - World -

Thai au­thor­i­ties have ar­rested two men ac­cused of try­ing to smug­gle tiger bones and meat to Viet­nam on a bus, po­lice said Thurs­day.

The two sus­pects are Viet­namese na­tion­als who al­legedly paid around $900 for the prod­ucts in Tak prov­ince on the Myan­mar bor­der, and planned to sell them back home for con­sump­tion.

Nat­tawat Wingth­ong­tavipon from Muang Phit­san­u­lok po­lice sta­tion told AFP that the men were ar­rested late Wed­nes­day in Phit­san­u­lok prov­ince after a tip-off.

“We found the guys...with an over­size bag, and the in­side was stuffed with the smoked car­cass and meat of a tiger, which they con­fessed were des­tined for Viet­nam,” Nat­tawat said.

The men were charged with pos­ses­sion of a pro­tected species and are in po­lice cus­tody.

Across the re­gion tiger pop­u­la­tions have been dec­i­mated due to poach­ing.

Thai­land is a pop­u­lar hub for the multi­bil­lion-dol­lar il­le­gal wildlife mar­ket and is also one of sev­eral coun­tries in South­east Asia – in­clud­ing Viet­nam – where ac­tivists say tiger breed­ing farms have con­trib­uted to the trade in the an­i­mal’s parts.

Around 30 per­cent of tiger prod­ucts seized be­tween 2012 and 2015 were sus­pected to orig­i­nate from cap­tive tigers com­pared to just two per­cent be­tween 2000 and 2003, ac­cord­ing to a study by the NGO Traf­fic.

In 2016 the king­dom made in­ter­na­tional head­lines after po­lice raided its in­fa­mous Tiger Tem­ple, a tourist site ac­cused of links to the trade.

An­i­mal rights groups have also de­cried the use of tigers in amuse­ment parks where they are prod­ded to pose for pho­tos with tourists.

In Viet­nam, tiger bones are boiled down and used for tra­di­tional medicine, while stuffed tigers, teeth, claws or tiger skin is used for dec­o­ra­tion or jew­elry.

Baby tigers and tiger parts are also steeped in wine in some ar­eas.

Viet­nam is no­to­ri­ous for the con­sump­tion of il­le­gal wildlife parts and as a pop­u­lar trans­port route for an­i­mals des­tined for other parts of Asia.

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