Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Speedy getaway for turtles in Banteay Meanchey

Speedy getaway for turtles in Banteay Meanchey

Bags of turtles sit under an overturned car yesterday morning in Banteay Meanchey province after the car veered off the road during a pursuit by authorities. National Police
Bags of turtles sit under an overturned car yesterday morning in Banteay Meanchey province after the car veered off the road during a pursuit by authorities. National Police

Speedy getaway for turtles in Banteay Meanchey

A Toyota Camry overturned during a high-speed pursuit in Banteay Meanchey province on Wednesday night, spilling its cargo of more than 100 smuggled turtles.

Provincial economic police chief Chap Sopharith said his officers confiscated the amphibian cargo after the vehicle crashed in O’Chrou district’s Koup commune. They had given pursuit after a tipoff from villagers.

“People gave us information that there was a vehicle carrying turtles from the [Thai] border, so our officers chased the car. They were afraid that our officers might catch them, and he drove too fast, which resulted in the car overturning,” Sopharith said, speculating that the drivers were probably hired for the border run in Thailand.

Six of 14 turtle species native to Cambodia are endangered, meaning hunting wild specimens is punishable with up to a year in prison and the turtle trade is strictly regulated.

When the officers caught up with the overturned vehicle, its driver had already fled the scene, Sopharith said. The suspect left behind 120 live turtles, weighing 281 kilograms, which were crawling about, having spilled from the bags in which they were being transported.

“This is our office’s first turtle seizure this year,” Sopharith said, adding that the haul was handed over yesterday to the Forestry Administration, whose officials agreed to safely release them back into the wild.

Kandal province customs officials seized 364 kilograms of live turtles by last month. Another 61 turtles were seized in May, and 103 endangered yellow-headed temple turtles were intercepted en route to Vietnam in March.

MOST VIEWED

  • Omicron patients can stay home: PM

    The Ministry of Health has issued a directive on the treatment of people who have tested positive for the highly transmissible Omicron coronavirus variant, following a suggestion from Prime Minister Hun Sen on the night of January 21. The directive permits home quarantine for those who

  • The effects of the USD interest rate hike on Cambodian economy

    Experts weigh in on the effect of a potential interest rate expansion by the US Federal Reserve on a highly dollarised Cambodia Anticipation of the US Federal Reserve’s interest rate hike in March is putting developing economies on edge, a recent blog post by

  • Cambodia’s first ever anime festival kicks off Jan 22 at capital’s F3 centre

    Phnom Penh's first ever Anime Festival will bring together fans, artists, shops and other local businesses with ties to the Japanese animation style for cosplay competitions, online games, pop-up shops and more on January 22, with Friends Futures Factory (F3) hosting. F3 is a project that

  • Hun Sen gets 4th Covid shot, urges compatriots to follow

    Prime Minister Hun Sen and his wife Bun Rany on January 14 received their fourth dose of Covid-19 vaccine and called on compatriots to follow suit as the Omicron coronavirus variant continues to spread in the community. This marks the launch of Cambodia's fourth-dose vaccination campaign,

  • Fourth dose Covid booster drive jabs 43K in two days

    In the first two days of the fourth-dose Covid-19 vaccination campaign, more than 43,000 people volunteered to get the jabs, while over 4.6 million people have received a third shot. Health ministry spokeswoman Or Vandine said that fourth-dose vaccinations, which began on January 14 exclusively with the Pfizer

  • Singapore backs Cambodia's efforts on Myanmar

    Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong supports Cambodia in its efforts to seek a solution to the ongoing Myanmar crisis as the chair of ASEAN. Lee expressed his support during a meeting with Prime Minister Hun Sen via videoconference on January 14, with the talks focused