Two suspects caught on Monday with more than a half-tonne of wildlife, mostly snakes, were only fined for illegally transporting wildlife and released on Wednesday in Takeo province’s Angkor Borei district.
The pair was caught with a truck full of snakes, turtles and birds, as they attempted to transport the wildlife to neighbouring Vietnam. While initially reporting 1 tonne of wildlife, yesterday Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Department officials revised it to about 600 kilograms.
“They were freed by provincial Forestry Administration officials on Wednesday morning after they discovered that those animals are not in the endangered category,” said Phan Sopheak, spokesman for the Takeo Provincial Court.
Sopheak added that the suspects were fined under Article 96 of the Forestry Law, with Phy Ravin, deputy director for Takeo’s Forestry Administration, saying the fine was two to three times the market price of the wildlife.
“They agreed to pay the transactional fine by paying triple the market price . . . and signed a contract to stop hauling the forestry products and wild animals without permission,” Ravin said.