A Malaysian national arrested in Bangkok yesterday for alleged wildlife trafficking claimed he came to the kingdom for cannabis oil business.
The man, 58 year old Boon Ching Teo, is allegedly a key trafficker in a global network. He was reportedly dubbed 'the godfather' of wildlife trading by the US Fish and Wildlife Service and is wanted by US authorities. The network that Boon is allegedly part of trades rhino horns, elephant tusks, and endangered wild African animals. Boon was previously arrested in Thailand in 2015 for smuggling African elephant tusks through the Sadao district of Songkhla.
Now, Boon is in trouble with the Thai police yet again. Police from the Central Investigation Bureau announced that Boon was arrested at a hotel in Wang Tholang district yesterday. He was arrested for alleged wildlife trafficking and money laundering. Police say Boon will be extradited to the US.
The deputy commander of Thailand's Natural Resources and Environmental Crime Division, Arun Wachirasukanya, said…
"Mr Boon Ching Teo did not have an exact place of residence. He was always traveling from one country to another, especially in Africa, and was therefore difficult to trace. Then there was information that he was visiting Thailand for illicit business."
Boon has denied all charges, claiming that he is in Thailand for Cannabis oil business, and has visited Africa frequently for vacation.
This news comes after police arrested 4 suspected wildlife traders today in several provinces across Thailand last week. The suspects allegedly confessed during questioning to having acquired Indochinese tigers for sale.
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