A wildlife smuggler coming from Thailand drove into a roadside canal on Wednesday after noticing a police car coming at him from the opposite direction, spilling sacks containing 112 rare turtles in Banteay Meanchey province’s O’Chrou district, police said.
“He was nervous because he knew he illegally brought the turtles and drove into a canal trying to avoid us,” said Yim Ny, deputy chief of the province’s anti-economic crimes bureau.
“We went to check what was inside the sacks after they came out from the car, and we saw the turtles in them.”
Police had been guarding the road when the driver’s Toyota Camry drove into the canal, he said.
The driver fled the scene, but Mr. Ny said police were not seeking to arrest him because it would be too hard to determine his identity.
Nil Nov, a Forestry Administration officer in the province, identified the amphibians as rare “Kror Bei” turtles, which are not often seen in Cambodia.
He said the animals would be sent to Save Wildlife Organization, an NGO that protects rescued wildlife.