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Elephants among those that smugglers tried to bring to Phuket today

Elephant Smugglers Nabbed With Jumbos

Monday, June 17, 2013
Brave Enough to Change Phuket

PHUKET: Smugglers attempting to transport three elephants onto Phuket illegally were nabbed by livestock officials at 3am today.

Phuket Livestock Director Werasit Puphipairoj told Phuketwan today that he was aghast to find the elephant smugglers were carrying fake documents in his name.

Nine people on two six-wheel trucks were apprehended, together with female adult elephants Kamsan, 26, Kanoon, 13, and a two-year-old male juvenile, Noppakao.

Khun Werasit and his team spent three nights awaiting the smugglers in a vigil.

''I am surprised that Tachatchai police at the bridge crossing onto Phuket failed to stop the elephants,'' Khun Werasit said.

He and his team of 10 nabbed the trucks and their valuable load as they rode down Thepkasattri Road, Phuket's main north-south artery.

The previous two nights, they had staked out the road closer to the Tachatchai checkpoint.

Khun Werasit said that Phuket had 224 legal elephants and was behind only Surin and Chiang Mai, the province with the third largest number.

''Phuket has enough elephants,'' he said. ''If camps need more, they should do deals among themselves to rent or exchange them.''

Numbers have increased recently with the opening of the Siam Nirimit show and additions at Phuket Zoo and FantaSea.

The man who led the smugglers, Sangd Kadpai, 40, told Khun Werasit that he was being paid 15,000 baht to transport the elephants from Surin to Phuket.

The official documentation only permitted the elephants to be taken as far as Phang Nga, Khun Werasit said.

The elephants will be kept at a camp on Phuket's Big Buddha Hill for 10 days while their health and documents are checked.

The smugglers, being questioned at Thalang Police Station today, are likely to face charges of breaking the law by transporting elephants without permission, and of forging Khun Werasit's signature.

Comments

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Great report, hopefully forging and uttering and illegal transportation will attract a jail sentence, the extra pleasing thing is Khun Veera is not the only person in town prepared to actually enforce the law. Well done Khun Werasit.

Posted by slickmelb on June 18, 2013 06:08

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I've vacationed in Phuket once before & was planning a trip to SE Asia. I am so hurt & disgusted by seeing that so many elephants are stolen from their mothers & homes and pimped for photos to tourists, that I am canceling my plans to spend any more of my tourist $$'s in Thailand. Until this horrible slavery stops, I will tell every travel agent in Los Angeles & California to boycott this destination.

Posted by Anonymous on June 19, 2013 05:48


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