The head of the Customs Department on Monday welcomed Boris Johnson, the United Kingdom’s secretary of state for foreign and commonwealth affairs, for a discussion on Thai-UK collaboration in battling the trade in endangered species.
Director-general Kulit Sombatsiri received Johnson and his delegation, who were on the final leg of a three-country tour of the region.
The two sides discussed the suppression of illicit trade in wildlife, following up the actions agreed under the 2014 “London Declaration on the Illegal Wildlife Trade” and endorsed by many countries to act as deterrents, eradicate the market for illegal wildlife products, strengthen law enforcement, as well as ensure effective legal frameworks, Kulit said.
“The Thai Customs Department focuses on and maintains a strict control policy over prohibited and restricted goods, especially specimens listed under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora [CITES]. In addition, close cooperation with various agencies both at the international and national levels is enhanced to exchange information on the illegal wildlife trade,” he added.
Wildlife trafficking in Thailand is carried out by various syndicates, both in the Kingdom and abroad, using the country as a transit route to facilitate and allocate illicit CITES specimens to destination countries.
Those syndicates often use a courier from an Asean country to smuggle the specimens to the destination countries.
As to consignments, false declaration is the most common way to smuggle CITES goods, he said, adding that the illicit items are declared as local products such as fish maws, nuts, stones or edible items, all of which it is legal to export.