Alleged macaque-smuggling ring exposed as U.S. indicts Cambodian officials

U.S. federal prosecutors have charged eight people, including two Cambodian forestry officials, for their alleged involvement in an international ring smuggling endangered long-tailed macaques.

Eight people, including two Cambodian Forestry Administration officials, have been charged by U.S. federal prosecutors for their alleged involvement in an international monkey smuggling ring.

One of the officials charged, Kry Masphal, was arrested at New York City’s John F. Kennedy International Airport, en route to Panama, where he was to have represented Cambodia at an international conference on the global wildlife trade.

In a Nov. 16 press statement, the U.S. Department of Justice announced that as many as 3,000 wild long-tailed macaques (Macaca fascicularis) have been laundered through Vanny Bio Research’s facilities in Cambodia since at least December 2017. Cambodian Forestry Administration officials allegedly received cash payments for each animal captured in the wild and then created fake papers from CITES, the global convention on the wildlife trade, that mislabeled the long-tailed macaques as captive-bred monkeys.

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