Officials seize decorative corals in raids at Chatuchak area

Police and officials from the national parks, fisheries and marine resources departments seized a substantial haul of decorative corals and coralline algae in raids of several shops in Chatuchak area on Tuesday.

Mr Nuwat Leelatapa, a member of the Yiew Dong task force of the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation, said the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment had received many complaints from the public about several shops in Chatuchak area dealing in banned marine products such as corals and coralline algae and protected wildlife species.

With search warrants issued by the Criminal Court, members of the task force with cooperation from the police and officials from the Fisheries and Marine and Coastal Resources departments launched a coordinated raid, targeting three shops suspected of harboring the illegal items.

At one shop reportedly owned by 24-year old Ms Supatra Saengkham, the officials found nine packs of hard corals of Scleractinia order and 15 soft coral packs of Alcyonacea order.
  Nuwat said the shop does not have a permit to possess or to trade in the items.

At the second shop, Nuwat said the shopowner shuttered the shop and escaped before the arrival of the raiding party.
  Nevertheless, the officials used a bolt cutter to cut the lock and entered the shop where they found  29 hard coral packs of Scleractinia order.

Three more soft coral packs were found in the third shop and its owner, Mr Sikharin Siriboon admitted he owned the corals but could not produce any official permit.

Mr Nuwat said that most of the corals would be sold to aquarium tropical fish raisers at between 20-500 baht for a small pack.

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