Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - No heads-up for ‘smugglers’

No heads-up for ‘smugglers’

Forestry officials found a car carrying five dismembered serow, a species of near-threatened wild goat, in Stung Treng province on Tuesday.
Forestry officials found a car carrying five dismembered serow, a species of near-threatened wild goat, in Stung Treng province on Tuesday. PHOTO SUPPLIED

No heads-up for ‘smugglers’

Forestry Administration officers sent two suspected wildlife smugglers to court in Stung Treng province yesterday after they were arrested while allegedly smuggling disembodied heads and hooves of the increasingly rare Chinese serow – a type of wild goat – into Cambodia from Laos, officials said.

Provincial Forestry Administration director Iev Ektha Savatty said that the suspects Ou Vandy, 40, and an accomplice whose name he could not provide, were arrested on Tuesday, and reportedly confessed to transporting the five serow heads and 20 hooves from Pakse, Laos, in order to sell them in Kratie.

“We have [preliminarily] charged the two suspects with transporting and trading wildlife illegally. On Wednesday afternoon our men sent them and the evidence to the provincial court,” he said.

According to Kratie provincial police chief Reach Sokhon, the men may have been trying to pass off the serow as hog deer, an even rarer and more valuable mammal, hunted for its purported medicinal value in treating postpartum conditions, pain and broken bones.

“Some brokers always cheat the people about this wild animal because the people do not know exactly about the hog deer or the other kinds of deer. Some wild animals that I used to see looked like goats,” Sokhon said.

Eak Vandy, a Stung Treng military police commander who participated in the crackdown, said suspect Vandy had pegged the price of one 45- to 70-kilogram hog deer at as much as $1,200.

However, serow are also “in significant decline”, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

Sarah Brook, a flagship species officer for Flora and Fauna International, said yesterday that serow, like hog deer, are also at risk of poaching.

“There is trade in serow parts for medicinal value,” Brook said, noting that serow favour forested habitats across the region. “But because there is a trade, they face hunting everywhere they are.”

A forestry administrative official who spoke on the condition of anonymity said a wildlife trader could face anywhere from five to 10 years in prison.

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY STUART WHITE

MOST VIEWED

  • Chinese group tours return to Cambodia starting Feb 6

    Cambodia is among 20 countries selected by Beijing for a pilot programme allowing travel agencies to provide international group tours as well as flight and hotel packages to Chinese citizens, following a three-year ban. As the days tick down until the programme kicks off on February 6,

  • Capital-Poipet express rail project making headway

    The preliminary results of a feasibility study to upgrade the Phnom Penh-Poipet railway into Cambodia’s first express railway indicate that the project would cost more than $4 billion and would take around four years to complete. The study was carried out by China Road and

  • Thai boxers to join SEA Games’ Kun Khmer event

    The Cambodian SEA Games Organising Committee (CAMSOC) – together with the Kun Khmer International Federation (KKIF) and Khmer Boxing Federation – have achieved a “great success” by including Kun Khmer in the upcoming biennial multi-sports event on its home soil for the first time, said a senior

  • Bullets to bracelets: Siem Reap man makes waste from war wearable

    Jewellery is often made from valuable gemstones like emeralds or diamonds and precious metals like gold or silver, or valueless things like animal horns. But a man in Siem Reap has approached the manufacture of delicate pieces from a different angle. His unique form of

  • Second Hungary business forum set for H2

    Cambodia has asked Hungary to provide GSP- (Generalised System of Preferences) Plus facilities for when the Kingdom sheds its least-developed country (LDC) label, as the two countries prepare to hold a second business forum in the second half (H2) of this year to expand trade

  • 61% of 2022 imports came from just 3 markets

    The three largest exporters to Cambodia – mainland China, Vietnam and Thailand – accounted for 60.94 per cent of the Kingdom’s total merchandise imports last year, at $18.245 billion, which was up 11.99 per cent over 2021, according to the General Department of Customs and Excise. Cambodia’s total imports