Two Vietnamese men were arrested on Thursday on a bus in Thailand and charged with smuggling tiger meat and bones. Le Binh, 40, and 29-year-old Nguyen Van Tung were allegedly in possession of the banned goods on a Tak-Mukdahan interstate bus early on October 11 when local police searched them at a rest stop in Phitsanulok province, the Bangkok Post reported.
Police reportedly received a tip-off from a bus company employee who said the two were acting strangely on the bus.
Initially, the police found nothing on the men’s bodies. While searching their luggage, however, dried bones and dried tiger meat were found in several black plastic bags. The two were taken to the Phitsanulok police station for further questioning and legal action.
A total of 23 pieces of a tiger’s carcass were found in the bags as well as two kilograms of expensive agarwood bark.
The men confessed to buying the exotic goods from another Vietnamese man named Tun for 30,000 baht (US$917). Authorities suspect the two were part of a smuggling gang that traded in tiger goods in Vietnam.
They are being held on charges of illegal possession of carcasses of protected wild animals. Forest official Niphon Chamnong said Tun is believed to have been residing along the Thai-Myanmar border in the town of Tak.
In Thailand, the possession of the carcass of a protected wild animal and any trading and/or concealment of the carcass carry a maximum penalty of four years jail time an/or a 40,000 baht of fine.