Military Police officials apprehended two suspects in Takeo province’s Angkor Borei district on Monday for attempting to transport around 1 tonne of wildlife, including turtles, birds and rare snakes, to Vietnam.
The two men were travelling in a truck through the province when Military Police officials arrested them after finding the vehicle filled with crates containing mostly snakes, including the rare Indochinese spitting cobra and checkered keelback reticulated pythons, turtles and a few birds. Cheav Chandara, Takeo Provincial Court spokesman, said the truck was headed to Vietnam and the two men had been questioned by provincial Military Police.
“I ordered the Military Police to arrest [the men] and confiscate [the wildlife],” he said. Nheb Sorn, director at the Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Department, said that some of the snakes were venomous and had been released at the Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Centre.
Most of the other snakes, turtles and birds had been released near a lake in the province. Despite efforts by conservationists, wildlife continues to be trafficked to neighbouring countries, where they can fetch a high price for use in traditional medicine and even for consumption.