Cambodian Forestry Official Arrested in US Over Alleged Monkey-Smuggling Scheme

Masphal Kry, a Cambodian forestry official, and seven others have been charged with conspiring to illegally export long-tailed macaques to the United States.

Yesterday brought the news that U.S. federal prosecutors have charged eight people, including two Cambodian government officials, with running an international monkey-smuggling operation that saw hundreds of endangered macaques being poached from the wild in Southeast Asia and shipped to the United States.

In a statement, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida said that Masphal Kry, 46, the deputy director of wildlife and biodiversity at Cambodia’s Forestry Administration, was arrested on Wednesday at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York.

This led to the unsealing of an indictment against an alleged wild monkey smuggling ring involving eight suspects. These included Omaliss Keo, 58, the director of Cambodia’s Forestry Administration, and six members of a “major primate supply organization” based in Hong Kong and Cambodia. These six others were James Man Sang Lau, 64, of Hong Kong; Dickson Lau, 29, of Hong Kong; Sunny Chan, of Hong Kong; Raphael Cheung Man, 71, of Cambodia; Sarah Yeung, of Cambodia; and Hing Ip Chung, 61, of Cambodia.

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