On 05 April 2022, a six-months long joint investigation* conducted by officers of the Royal Thai Police Natural Resources and Environmental Crime Suppression Division (NED) and the Wildlife Justice Commission resulted in the arrest of three men suspected of involvement in a big cats trafficking network in Thailand and the Greater Mekong Region.
The arrests, which took place in the Nonthaburi province, near Bangkok, came after officers followed the three suspects to a car park of a shopping centre where police believed they planned to sell a tiger cub to buyers from overseas.
The three suspects, aged 23, 30, and 41, alleged to be senior traffickers, were arrested at the scene and are currently under police investigation.
A three-months old tiger cub was found in a box in one of the suspects’ cars. The tiger cub has been named Madee and is now being cared for by the wildlife authorities in Thailand.
“We thank the Wildlife Justice Commission for their infinite support in fighting transnational organised wildlife crime in Thailand and Southeast Asia through the provision of credible and actionable intelligence; This is yet another successful operation and we look forward to stepping-up the efforts to disrupt criminal networks that are driving tigers towards extinction.”Pol.Maj.Gen.Mana Kleebsattabutr, Commander, NED, Royal Thai Police.
The trafficking of endangered wildlife for the pet trade is a multi-million-dollar criminal industry that continues to grow in scale, driven by increasing global demand for rare species. It increases pressure on already vulnerable populations of highly sought-after animals.
* According to the Royal Thai Police’s policy, the Centre for the investigation of Transnational Environmental Crimes (CITEC) was assigned, under the supervision of Pol. Gen. Roy Ingkapairoj, Deputy Commissioner of the Royal Thai Police, to follow up the matter. With this policy, a Royal Thai Police and Wildlife Justice Commission joint operation led to the arrest of three suspected senior wildlife traffickers.