One hundred and thirty wild turtles bound for dinner tables in Phnom Penh have been spared from the cooking pot after military police in Kampong Thom found the critters on a bus headed to the capital from Siem Reap.
A 24-year-old man travelling on the bus was also arrested for allegedly trading the animals illegally, said officials yesterday.
Provincial military police chief Hang Thol said that Stoung military police and forestry administration officials stopped the bus along National Road 6 after a tip-off.
“They searched the bus and found 130 turtles wrapped in plastic bags in a box,” added Thol, adding that other passengers were also shocked at the find.
The suspect responsible for the live cargo was arrested at the scene. Both he and the animals were handed over to forestry officials, who will take legal action against the suspect.
But because the turtles are not an endangered species, the suspect will not face a jail term, said Thol. “He will be fined and sent to court if he refuses to pay.”
To contact the reporter on this story: Phak Seangly at [email protected]