Found in Luggage: Leopards, Panthers and a Bear…

BY FREELAND
May 17, 2011

Sting operation foils Emirate wildlife trafficker at Bangkok airport

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Thai Police arrested a UAE citizen just after midnight today as he was preparing to fly first-class from Bangkok to Dubai with various rare and endangered animals in his suitcases.

Undercover officers from the Thai Nature Crime Police had been monitoring the suspect from his illegal purchases to the moment he stepped into Bangkok's Suvarnabuhmi Airport where he was observed receiving several suitcases from another suspect packed with the animals, all of which were all still alive.

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Noor Mahmoodr, a 36-year-old male from UAE was then apprehended by police and taken into custody at Rajatheva Police Station, while veterinarians took immediate care of the animals, which included: two leopards, two panthers, one Asiatic black bear, and two macaque monkeys.

"The trafficker was stunned, it was a perfect undercover operation by the Thai Police Task Force," said Steven Galster, Director of FREELAND Foundation whose staff were present for the bust. Various divisions within the police collaborated, including Immigration Police.

Police Colonel Kiattipong Khawsamang, Deputy Commander of the Nature Crime Police, led the operation. Investigations continue into a wider network of traffickers. The animals have been taken to a veterinarian clinic nearby for further care.

 

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Pol. Col. Khawsamang (shown in tan jacket on right in second photo) and other Thai Police officers involved in this morning's operation are featured with FREELAND's investigation support team in a new National Geographic TV series that airs next week across Asia.

Entitled "Crimes Against Nature", the four-part series follows the undercover exploits of the task force as they go after organised crime rings trafficking in rare and endangered animals.

FREELAND has provided training to Thailand's task force through support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and Save the Tiger Fund. Thailand leads the ASEAN Wildlife Enforcement Network (ASEAN-WEN), which is a 10-country, cross-border network established in 2005.

 

This is a press release from FREELAND.