Two arrested for trading protected snakes and water monitors 

Two persons were arrested yesterday (Mar 5) after police and soldiers at a road checkpoint in Mae Tha district of Lamphun found live banded rat snakes and slaughtered water monitors in their pickup truck.

Both are protected animals under the wildlife protection law.

According to Pol Capt Sirichai Taipakorn, deputy suppression inspector at Mae Tha police station, the pickup truck was ordered to stop for search after it had suspecious cargo on its bed covered with metal roof.

As authorities searched the blue shading nets which were covered under piles of blank fruit baskets, they found five bags.

Inside all the bags were 25 live banded rat snakes, each snake was about 1-3 metre long, he said.

A cooler with water monitors meat weighed about 100 kilogrammes was also found.

The two persons identified as Mrs Nusarin Bunkongrat, 43, and the driver Sorakarn Lantana, 29, were detained for having and trading protected wildlife animals.

Both admitted of buying the animals from poachers in Lamphun and Chiang Mai to sell to exotic food restaurants in Talad Thung Kwien market in Thern district of Lampang.

Police said poaching of wild animals to supply to restaurants in Chiang Mai and Lamphun was backed by some state authorities.

The wildlife meats were not only meant for local market but also for overseas market through smuggling which authorities are tracking those who are behind the illegal trade.

A plastic bag containing water monitor meat.