Authorities in the capital and Kratie province cracked down on two separate incidents of wildlife smuggling on Tuesday, seizing hundreds of animals, but making no arrests.
Phnom Penh Forestry Administration (FA) on Tuesday morning stopped a passenger bus that was carrying snakes, water monitor lizards, turtles and tortoises, weighing a total of 400kg, said Kom Seyha, office chief at the Phnom Penh FA, who led the operation.
“We don’t know from which province the bus left or where the wildlife was destined for as we are still investigating. When we stopped the bus, the driver fled. The company [Seila Angkor Express Bus Company] said it was not aware of the wildlife and only the driver knew,” Seyha said.
Seyha said the wildlife was handed over to NGO Wildlife Alliance. An official with the organisation, who asked to remain anonymous, said some of the animals were taken to the Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Centre, while the water species were released in the Tonle Sap river on Tuesday.
In Kratie province, provincial Military Police stopped a car transporting six monkeys and a python on Monday night in Chetr Borei district’s Kantuot commune, with the wildlife bound for Vietnam.
Kratie Provincial Military Police Commander San Bunthan confirmed the bust, saying the animals were handed over to Kratie FA. However, he declined to provide further details.
But Kuy Huot, director of the Kratie Provincial Agriculture Department which oversees the FA in the area, said he had yet to receive any information about the case.