6 June 2024

Thai police and wildlife officials seized 48 macaques when they intercepted a pickup truck on a highway in Mueang district of the southern province of Chumphon on Saturday night.

The two men in the truck, “Natthaphol” and “Charnwat”, were taken into custody for questioning.

Wild macaques are a protected wildlife species. They are often caught illegally in the southernmost province of Satun and transported by pickup truck to Laos. Acting on a tip, highway police and wildlife officials were deployed to Asian highway 41, in Khun Krating sub-district, to look out for a suspect vehicle.

At about 10pm, the vehicle was spotted and the police gave chase and stopped the truck, in which they found the monkeys, one of which was dead, in several plastic bags.

Suspect Natthaphol told the police that he was promised 20,000 baht by a “Mr. Baew”, believed to be the wildlife trafficker, to deliver the monkeys to a man in Chachoengsao province.

He claimed that he had already made two deliveries for Baew and, each time, he would be accompanied by Charnwat, who was paid 5,000 baht per trip.

Natthaphol also claimed that Baew would give him instructions by phone, telling him which roads he should use to avoid checkpoints and where he should stop for someone to take over from him adding, however, that the final destination for the animals is in Laos.