BANGKOK – Thailand’s Customs House officials have arrested a Chinese woman and a Vietnamese man at Suvarnabhumi Airport after they allegedly tried to smuggle out elephant tusks and ivory products worth about Bt9 million.
The man was identified as Luong Tien Phong, 62 and the woman as Chen Zhiyu, 23. Eighteen pieces of tusk and 587 ivory products, worth in total about Bt9 million were found in their suitcases.
Deputy Customs director general Paisarn Chuenjit said the arrest was the result of his department’s strengthening of preventive measures to block the ivory trade in line with CITES.
The arrest was made on July 26 at about 6pm at the Suvarnabhumi Airport. The suspects claimed that they were paid by an Asian to smuggle the items from the Ivory Coast to Cambodia’s Siem Reap province via Bangkok. The Chinese was paid US$500 while the Vietnamese US$300.
Speaking at the same press conference, Thunya Netithammakul, deputy director general of the National Parks Department said that the Thai authorities place importance on racking down on this trade, even though Thailand is just a transit point for the smugglers. Many international organisations including CITES, are also giving priority to the issue.