Two suspects were arrested for allegedly smuggling close to 100 wild animals in Kratie province’s Snuol district on Friday.
Men Bunthoeun, Snuol district police chief, said yesterday that police and Forestry Administration officials stopped a car on Friday morning after getting a tip-off that the drivers were attempting to illegally transport animals out of the country.
Animals seized from the car included 67 monitor lizards, 13 ferrets, 11 turtles, and six wild snakes. The driver of the car managed to escape from the scene. Two passengers, Chan Ya, 37, and Ton Kom, 18, claimed that he had given them US$5 each to help him smuggle the animals to Vietnam.
“The animals, men, and car were kept and detained at Snuol district police station for inspection overnight,” he said, adding that the animals were later released at the Seima Protection Forest and Biodiversity Conservation Area in Mondulkiri and Kratie provinces.
But Snuol district governor Eav Saphom claimed that the car and the two men were released on Saturday after the driver, known as Thy, appeared at the district Forestry Administration on Saturday and paid a fine of 30 million riel (about US$7,400).