Mukdahan Wild Animals Checkpoint officials were joined by personnel from other agencies in confiscating 182 baskets containing 2,730 rat snakes and cobras - worth Bt1 million in total - about to be smuggled to Laos.
Following a tip-off that a large number of snakes were to be taken into Laos on a pick-up truck through Ban Bang Sai Noi pier in Mukdahan’s Wan Yai district, Checkpoint head Sathit Pisaisawat led a team composed of his men, Surasakmontree Military Camp’s task force and the Navy’s Mukdahan’s Mekong Patrol Operation Command in seizing the snakes at 8.30pm on Sunday.
The officials discovered 3-4 people moving plastic baskets with closed lids from a pick-up truck onto the pier for transport by long-tail boat. The suspects scattered in different directions when they saw the authorities approaching.
Officials found 15 live snakes inside a net sack in each basket and collected these and the vehicle as evidences to pass onto the Wan Yai Police Station to investigate and arrest the culprits. They will be charged with having wildlife in their possession without permission and importing wildlife without permission under the Wild Animal Reservation and Protection Act 1992.
The authorities suspect that once in Laos, the snakes would be sold to Chinese investors to make an alcoholic beverage produced by infusing whole snakes in grain alcohol, which is said to have health benefits and serve as an aphrodisiac.