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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.

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On February 9, 2016, Specialized Border Patrol Police 2312 and 2344 (Ban Phaluka Operation Base, Chanot Sub-District, Wan Yai District, Mukdahan Province) operated in cooperation with Mekong Border Patrol Police 231 and 234 in seizing 188 pieces of Siamese Rosewood (sized 3.51 cubic meters) and 1 Pick-up truck at a storage site beside a residence in Muang District, Mukdahan Province (Thai-Lao PDR border). The seized contrabands were then sent to Investigation officials of Mukdahan Police Station for further legal procedures.

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On February 1, 2017, Thai officials of Forest Protection Unit 1 (Surin) worked with Sangkha District Administration, police officials of Sangkha Police Station, and Banasanuan Intersection Forest Operation Unit in seizing 1 chainsaw and 3 rosewood logs at around 0.62 square meters.  No suspect was found at the site. The wrongdoing occurred on the farmland of a local resident in Khon Taek sub-district, Sangkha district, Surin Province (Thai-Cambodia border). The case and portion of the evidence was sent to the investigative officials at Sangkha Police Station for further legal actions while the rosewood was deposited for safekeeping at the office of Forest Protection Unit 1 (Surin).

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Officials from Department of National Park, Wildlife and Plant Conservation; Customs Department; and Royal Thai Police worked together in the seizures of Congo-originated Pangolin scales at Suvarnabhumi Airport, Bangkok, Thailand. The 3 separate Pangolin scales cases, collectively weighing at 2.9 tons, are predicted to have a net worth of around 130 million Baht (3.7 million US dollars) in market price of their destination at Lao PDR (at 45,000 Baht or around 1,300 US dollars per kilograms).

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