Sangke district police in Battambang province on Thursday arrested seven people and seized more than 600 dead birds during a crackdown on wildlife trade in the district.
Major General Sun Sovan, district police chief, said yesterday that he led the raids following a directive from provincial police chief Ouch Sokhon.
He noted officers arrested seven wildlife traders and seized 686 birds, of ten different species, which they had killed and attempted to sell.
“We arrested seven suspected wildlife traders but unfortunately they had killed the birds,” Maj Gen Sovan said. “We decided to burn the dead birds at the district police station and sent the seven people to court.”
Brigadier General Chet Vanny, provincial deputy police chief, confirmed the crackdown and arrests and referred questions to provincial deputy police chief Kuy Heang.
Mr Heang declined to comment, noting he was busy cracking down on illegal fishing.
Last month, Environment Minister Say Samal said Cambodia is committed to combating the illegal wildlife trade and is prepared to cooperate with the UN.
“Cambodia is committed to combating illegal wildlife trade. Cambodia is ready to cooperate with all countries to conserve natural resources and fight wildlife trade,” Mr Samal said during a wildlife awareness event with British Ambassador Tina Redshaw at her residence in Phnom Penh.
Ms Redshaw said that the Cambodian government should stop the sale of wildlife in markets and stop the export of endangered species of plants and animals.
The British embassy said that illegal wildlife trade is an urgent global issue that damages sustainable economic growth and the livelihoods of vulnerable people in rural communities.
It added that the trade is worth about $22 billion per year and is the fourth most lucrative transnational crime.