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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Tweets save 650 mynas from the dinner plate

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Authorities inspect bird cages during an illegal bird trafficking bust yesterday in Kratie province. FRESH NEWS

Tweets save 650 mynas from the dinner plate

Authorities in Kratie province yesterday rescued 650 wild myna birds captured by a villager from Chet Borei district’s Bos Leav commune, who fled prior to officers arriving.

The birds, taken from the forest and discovered by happenstance in Prek Ta Thoeung village, were likely slated for sale either for food or pets, according to local officials.

Deputy Chet Borei District Chief Uong Sambath said he uncovered the avian abduction from multiple tweets. “This morning, I went to buy bricks in that village, and I heard the sound of the birds,” Sambath said. “I went to the house and found the birds. I left the place and told relevant authorities to take action.”

Sambath said the birds, which he said were common hill myna, were housed in seven cages and could have been headed to Vietnam, where song birds are commonly kept as pets.

However, Bos Leav Commune Chief Ky Thy said the birds, which he said were white-vented myna, were likely destined for a restaurant, as 20 were found already plucked. He alleged Phok Neng, 37, owner of the home where the birds were found, had caught them in a nearby forest.

“He would sell them in the village or maybe 10 to 20 in a restaurant,” Thy said. “Only myna that can speak were transported to Vietnam,” he added, referring to birds who learn to mimic.

The officials said the birds were freed by local officials from the Forestry Administration, which could not be reached yesterday for comment.

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