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Court releases wildlife smuggling accomplice

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Authorities on Sunday seize wild animals, including 28 turtles, from a bus in Kampong Thom province’s western Stoung district. GRK News

Court releases wildlife smuggling accomplice

The Kampong Thom Provincial Court on Monday released a man who helped illegally transport more than 200kg of wildlife and ordered him to pay a 30 million riel ($7,500) fine.

Provincial court prosecutor Ith Sothea said the man, Ngon Vunra, 27, was merely an assistant to the driver of the bus which was used to commit the crime.

He called on BPA Transport Co Ltd – the owner of the bus – and the driver to hand themselves in and pay their fines according to the Law on Forestry.

Police and Forestry Administration officials on Sunday arrested Vunra in Kampong Thom province’s western Stoung district for transporting more than 200kg of wild animals – including turtles, snakes and Asian water monitors.

“The wildlife has already been released in a safe location,” said Sothea.

Provincial Forestry Administration deputy chief Am Buntha said his forces and Military Police personnel in the province found the bus – which was parked – arrested Vunra and seized the wildlife.

Buntha said he was unaware of the source of the animals.

He said police confiscated 28 turtles weighing 179kg, 82 snakes weighing 45kg and four Asian water monitors weighing 8kg.

All the animals were released on Monday at Phnom Santuk mountain, he said. However, two of the water monitors were dead on arrival.

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