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European Scientists Arrested in Chiang Mai for Collecting Insects



The four scientists at Mae Ai police station. Photo: Doi Pha Hom Pok National Park.

The four scientists at Mae Ai police station. Photo: Doi Pha Hom Pok National Park.

CHIANG MAI -Four European Scientist have been arrested in Chiang Mai for collecting insects in a National Park without the correct permits, despite having received permission from military officials.

Chiang Mai police identified the four suspects as German citizen Thomas Ihle, 40, Austrian Karel Cerny, 62, and Czech Republic citizens Zdenek Weidenhoffer, 76, and Bohumil Vodrlind, 60.

City News in Chiang Mai reported the four scientists were apprehended by forestry officials and border patrol police in Doi Pha Hom Pok National Park, in Chiang Mai’s Mae Ai district, on Friday evening.

Police also seized more than 1,000 butterflies and moths, as well as several reptile specimens and various species of beetle and other insects. The scientists used a neon light to attract insects, then caught them in a net and put them in bottles, police said.

Officers seized other equipment as evidence, including various tools, bottles, syringes and plastic containers.

The four men were arrested and taken to Mae Ai Police Station. They have been released from custody while arrangements are made for a formal bail application, and their passports have been confiscated.

Police said tourists are allowed to stay overnight in national parks but must first receive permission from the park authorities, who should check that they are not planning to capture any animals.

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