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On February 14, 2017, officials of customs, Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation, and Natural Resources and Environmental Crime Division (Royal Thai Police) were successful in seizing a large shipment of illegal pangolin scales. The scales were intentionally mislabeled as “Fish Maw” by their prestigious African-originated traffickers in an effort to mislead officials.
According to the documents, the shipment came in from the city of Lubumbashi, Congo on the Kenya Airlines, changing flights at Kenya’s capital of Nairobi and was heading towards Vientiane, Lao PDR. The shipment, however, was inspected and intercepted by Thai officials at Suvarnabhumi Airport as it was awaiting flight transfer to its destination.
The shipment, when inspected with x-ray equipment, was found to be pangolin scales in 22 containers, collectively weighing at 1,066 kg. Officials seized the found contrabands and arranged for transfer to the inquiry officials of Suvarnabhumi Airport Police Station for further legal procedures accordingly to the Customs Act, B.E. 2469 (1926) and the Wild Animals Reservation and Protection Act, B.E. 2535 (1992) (WARPA).
Currently, the seized pangolin contrabands are calculated to have a net worth of more than 40 million baht at the market price of their countries of destination such as Vietnam or China, where the asking price can range from 35,000 – 50,000 baht per kilograms.
Respectively, however, it was also calculated that 2,500 – 3,000 endangered pangolin lives was extinguished for this shipment.