Police in Thailand arrested a Malaysian man wanted for Worldwide wildlife trafficking by the US Fish and Wildlife Service. He will be extradited to the United States, police said.
Central Investigation Bureau police reported on Thursday that Mr. Boon Ching Teo 58, was apprehended at a hotel in Bangkok on an Interpol red warrant for alleged wildlife trafficking and money laundering.
According to Pol. Col Arun Wachirasukanya, deputy commander of the Natural Resources and Environmental Crime Division, the suspect was wanted by the US Fish and Wildlife Service.
There is evidence that he is a key wildlife trafficker with a worldwide network of illicit trade in rhinoceros horns, elephant tusks, and endangered wild African animals. Additionally, he allegedly launders money for wildlife traffickers.
According to the deputy commander, he was a major suspect wanted by US authorities.
Mr. Boon Ching Teo had no fixed residence. He travelled from one country to another, especially in Africa, making it difficult to track him. When it was discovered he was in Thailand doing illicit business, we were able to locate him and arrest him,” said Pol Col Arun.
According to the suspect, he frequently visited Africa on vacation and was in Thailand for business related to CBD cannabis oil.
In 2015, the suspect was arrested in Thailand for smuggling African elephant tusks through the Sadao district of Songkhla. He received a fine and was let go.
He was handed over to the Office of the Attorney General for extradition to the United States by the police.
Wildlife Trade Thailand
According to TRAFFIC, the illegal wildlife trade in Thailand and around the world was primarily conducted in physical markets. However, in recent years the internet has rapidly evolved into a key channel for facilitating the trade of thousands of live animals, parts, and merchandise.
In Thailand, Facebook, for example, has experienced huge growth in user numbers since 2010. This growth has also resulted in it becoming not only one of the largest social networks but also a major platform for the illegal wildlife trade.
One of the major objectives of this project is to combat the illegal trade in ivory, rhino horns, tigers, and pangolins. According to the data currently available, Thailand’s demand for ivory and tiger parts is high, but that for pangolins and rhino horns is low.
In spite of the high number of pangolin seizures reported by TRAFFIC, most of these are attempts to illegally export, or re-export, pangolins to other countries, often by using Thailand as a transit country.
Furthermore, pangolin seizures have decreased each year, according to data. A limited amount of data indicates that rhino horns are neither in demand nor supply in the Thai market. However, smugglers still use Thailand as a transit point,