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Horns, snakeskin dealer arrested

A 48-year-old man was arrested on Saturday after police found seven wild animal horns and more than 200 kilograms of snakeskin when raiding his home in Siem Reap town.

The suspect, Tea Muoyhuo, had long been illegally trading in wildlife specimens, according to Souen Sen, provincial director of the business crime department. Souen Sen said the horns – five of which were from deer and two from wild buffalo – originated in Preah Vihear and Oddar Meachey and were worth US$300-$500 each. The snakeskin came from the Tonle Sap area and each piece was worth about US$1. 

The suspect said he had intended to sell the goods in Thailand and Vietnam.  

Deer and wild buffalo are classified as rare wildlife species, said Men Phymean, director of the Wildlife Protection Office at the government-run Forestry Administration.  Any act of possession, processing, stocking, transporting or importing of wildlife specimens is illegal.

The suspect is now detained at the provincial police station on allegations of illegal possession, according to provincial clerk Yin Sreang.  Tea Kimsoth, provincial director of the Forestry Administration, confirmed he will be charged in accordance with the Forest Law.

“It is difficult to crack down on the illegal trade of rare wildlife species, because smugglers are highly skilled,” said Vuthy Ravong, director of the wildlife team at Wildlife Alliance.  “They often conceal their activities by using modern luxury cars to transport the goods.”

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