Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Police seize wildlife meat in market raid

Police seize wildlife meat in market raid

Police seize wildlife meat in market raid

Police in Ratanakkiri province’s Banlung town yesterday raided a popular market where they seized nearly 20 kilograms of illegal wildlife meat, according to officials.

Nouv Dara, chief of the provincial Anti-Economic Crime Office, said the action was prompted by a Post investigation into the province’s illicit trade, published yesterday.

Dara, who led the raid, said the meat was recovered from multiple stalls and sent directly to the provincial Forestry Administration office, but the vendors behind the produce were still at large.

“When they saw us coming, the sellers escaped,” he said, adding that police were seeking their arrest for “re-education” and further penalties.

Meats confiscated in yesterday’s raid included wild pig, lizard, turtle, sambar and red muntjac deer.

All wildlife is classified as state property in Cambodia, and trading in it is illegal.

At the market last week, vendor Wai Sokheng was openly selling meat that included rare and endangered species. Sokheng said she knew she was acting outside of the law but had “no choice”.
Other vendors were seen in the market and elsewhere in the province selling a range of wildlife meat.

Tracy Farrell, senior technical director at Conservation International’s Greater Mekong Program, said the NGO sees people openly selling and eating poached wildlife and “talking openly and freely [about it] everywhere in Ratanakkiri”.

At the market, Sokheng said in an interview that she and other vendors pay the anti-economic crime police monthly bribes that allow them to trade so publicly, but Dara, the unit’s chief, dismissed the allegations.

“I don’t know anything about this, [and] anyone doing it will be punished by law,” he said.

Dara added that the market can expect more raids in the future. “We will go to crack down [again],” he said.

Nick Marx, director of wildlife rescue and care at local NGO Wildlife Alliance, which has launched multiple raids of its own at the market, said it is vital that such action is taken.

“It is essential that the illegal trade is stopped,” he said.

Marx added that, in Wildlife Alliance’s experience, vendors caught in such raids often re-offend, meaning that efforts by the police need to continue if the trade is to be stamped out.

Aside from targeting the vendors, he said there needed to be “stricter controls on hunting and on hunting implements”, as well as greater education about the importance of preserving wildlife.

Cheam Sopheat, the manager of Banlung Market, said it was “damn difficult” to control the trade because many vendors “sell secretively”.

Sopheat added that, having not personally eaten wildlife meat for more than a year, it was even harder for him to know who was trading in it.

“If I bought it, I would know,” he said.

MOST VIEWED

  • All Covid restrictions for inbound travellers lifted

    Cambodia has apparently taken the final step towards full reopening of the country without Covid-19 restrictions by removing all requirements for inbound travellers, who until now had to show health certificates indicating that they have tested Covid-19 negative in the past 72 hours as well as

  • Typhoon Noru brings flash floods – 16 dead

    An official warned that that the 16th typhoon of the season, Noru, had brought heavy rains to areas the Mekong River and flooded thousands of homes in the provinces bordering Thailand. As of September 27, the death toll from the flooding had risen to 16. National Committee

  • Cambodia stands firm on 5PC: No invite for Myanmar to ASEAN Summit this year

    Cambodia has not invited Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, chairman of Myanmar’s ruling State Administration Council (SAC), to the 40th and 41st ASEAN Summit and related meetings scheduled for next month in Phnom Penh. The government will instead invite a non-political representative from Myanmar

  • Mushrooming borey projects and home financing – a cause for concern?

    A spurt in housing developments is typically a sign of a growing economy but underneath all that might lay some anxiety of credit growth as developers offer financing to buyers at higher rates, an activity the central bank identifies as ‘shadow banking’ Earlier this year,

  • Thai Senate delegates in Cambodia to discuss anti-graft co-op

    A delegation from Thailand's Senate was in Phnom Penh on September 28 to meet their Cambodian counterparts to discuss strategies for fighting corruption and enhancing cooperation. The Thai delegates were from its Senate’s Committee on Studying and Inspecting Corruption, Misconduct and Strengthening Good Governance. They

  • Scholarship winner tells secrets to success

    Chhim Chaknineath was awarded the Chevening Scholarship for one year of postgraduate study in the UK for the academic year 2022-2023 along with a group of 10 other outstanding students who applied. She spent more than a year researching and studying – as well as consulting with