Thailand ‘s Wildlife Crime Task Force continued its crackdown on exotic animal smugglers by nabbing a Pakistani man alleged to have brought over 1,000 rare tortoises into Bangkok from Bangladesh on Tuesday. Customs and endangered species management officials arrested the suspect after inspecting his baggage off a Thai Airways flight.
They claim Saeed Shaikh, 44, a Pakistani national, packed 1,140 rare star tortoises and one rare gavial [crocodile] into four suitcases for the flight from Dhaka . Total value of the seized wildlife is estimated at more than Bt3 million.
This latest raid at Suvarnabhumi airport is the fifth in a series of enforcement actions by police wildlife officers within the last 5 weeks.
Acting on tip-offs from the Freeland Foundation- an animal rights organisation – police detained illegal exotic animal dealers at Chatuchak Market on August 27th and September 25th, and in Pattaya on September 12th. The enforcement actions are aimed at breaking up illegal cross-border syndicates using Thailand to trade in exotic animals.