Vietnamese National Arrested Attempting To Smuggle Rhino Horns
An alleged kingpin of wildlife trafficking, who is suspected of fueling a big portion of Asia’s illegal animal trade for over a 10 years, has been arrested in Thailand, according to local police officials on Saturday. 40-year-old Boonchai Bach was arrested in Thailand’s Nakhon Phanom, in connection with the illegal smuggling of 14 rhino horns–worth over $1 million–from Africa into Thailand just last month.
Boonchai allegedly ran a large trafficking network on the Thai-Laos border that spread into parts of Vietnam. According to the anti-trafficking group Freeland Foundation, he and his family played an important role in a criminal syndicate that has smuggled items including ivory, rhino horns, pangolins, tigers, lions and other rare and endangered species for more than a decade.
According to police on the case, Bach denies the charges against him. He could face up to 4 years in prison and a $1,300 fine under the country’s wildlife law, but authorities are also considering money-laundering and customs violation charges that add up to 10 more years of prisontime.