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Online wildlife trader arrested

Wild animal pelts, antlers bones and other parts seized during a raid on a house in Ratchaburi on Wednesday. Alleged major online wildlife trader Thanasit Sripatchim was arrested. (Photo  from @prhotnews02, DNP PR Facebook page)
Wild animal pelts, antlers bones and other parts seized during a raid on a house in Ratchaburi on Wednesday. Alleged major online wildlife trader Thanasit Sripatchim was arrested. (Photo from @prhotnews02, DNP PR Facebook page)

RATCHABURI: A suspected major online wildlife trader has been arrested and items including pelts of wild tigers and leopard cats, barking deer antlers and animal bones seized during a raid on a house in Pak Tho district.

Wildlife officials had set up a sting to arrest a man named Thanasit, who is alleged to be a major wildlife trader on Facebook, Mongkhol Chaipakdi, chief of the Phaya Sua task force, said on Thursday. 

He did not disclose the man’s full name, but Thai media identified the wildlife trader as Thanasit Sripatchim.

An official was assigned to buy leopard pelts from the trader.

When Mr Thanasit showed up with six boxes containing wildlife parts at a parcel service depot in Ratchaburi, a team of wildlife officials led by the Phaya Sua task force, also showed up – and arrested him.

Wildlife officials arrest alleged online wildlife trader Thanasit Sripatchim, centre, and search his house in Ratchaburi, where many boxes containing wildlife pelts, skins, bones and other parts were seized. (Photo from @prhotnews02, DNP PR Facebook page)

A search of his house led to the seizure of pelts, antlers and other parts of 30 kinds of wildlife. They included two leopard cat pelts, 189 skins of Malayan porcupines, 20 barking deer antlers, pelts of wild tigers and six stingray tails.

In a post on its Facebook page, the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation’s PR team valued the seized items at 124,620 baht, but did not say how it calculated such a precise figure.

Mr Thanasit was charged with illegal possession of protected wildlife, which carries a prison term of up to five years in jail and/or fine up to 500,000 baht, and with illegal trading in wildlife, which carries a prison term of up to 10 years and/or fine up to one million baht.

If found to have commited a more serious offence against protected wildlife in a reserve, an offender faces up to 15 years in jail and/or fine up to 1.5 million baht.

Mr Thanasit was handed over to Thung Luang police station in Pak Tho district for legal action.

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