Takeo provincial military police yesterday seized 3,900 kilos of dried crocodile hides being smuggled into the country from Vietnam.
Major Bun Sothy, Takeo provincial military police deputy commander, said the crocodile skins, worth about $24,000, were being smuggled into Koh Andet district from Vietnam’s An Giang province at about 3.30am.
Maj Sothy said the smuggler of the skins was able to evade capture, but noted that authorities knew the identity of the owner, a Cambodian businessman and crocodile farmer in Kampong Chhnang province who is now wanted for questioning.
“The provincial military police are now seeking to arrest the owner of the shipment seized in order to send him to the court, where he will likely be fined,” he said.
Maj Sothy added that his authorities cooperated with the provincial forestry administration to make the seizure and that the skins are now being impounded at the forestry administration’s headquarters.
Sok Samedy, deputy chief of the provincial forestry administration, said the skins were ultimately destined for export to Thailand, and would not have been seized if the owner respected the law and legally imported them by paying the proper taxes.
“For this case, I would like to appeal to the owner of the skins seized to come meet with the provincial forestry administration and pay the tax and fine,” he said. “If he does not come, he will face harsher legal action.”
Authorities declined to identify the owner.