FIVE men were temporarily arrested and questioned by Kandal provincial police on Monday night in connection with the illegal smuggling of over 70 turtles, officials said yesterday.
Tith Vong, chief of the provincial economic office, said that the men were apprehended and questioned after police discovered three cases containing 71 turtles in a van in Koh Thom district on Monday night. However, the driver of the van, who is believed to be responsible for the turtle smuggling, fled and remains at large.
“The five men were released [after questioning] because they are not relevant to the transportation of the turtles,” Tith Vong said.
Soun Sovann, deputy director of the Forestry Administration’s department of legislation and law enforcement, said yesterday that turtles were one of the most frequently smuggled forms of wildlife.
He added that over the past six months, authorities nationwide have cracked down on 73 wildlife smuggling cases, seizing 2,584 animals and 477 kilogrammes of meat.
“Some of the seized animals were released into the wild, while others were sent to the Forestry Administration. The sick animals were cured and taken to be cared for at the Phnom Tamao Zoo,” Soun Sovann said.