Military Police in Siem Reap City arrested two men early Wednesday morning for illegally transporting 100,000 newly hatched snakehead fish that were to be raised in fish farms, officials said.
Srey Youra, deputy provincial military police commander, said officers stopped the men’s Toyota Highlander at about 4:30 a.m. in Chung Khnies commune and discovered the illicit cargo in a plastic box in the backseat.
“We arrested two people in the car and they were sent, along with the evidence, to the provincial fisheries department,” he said.
Mr. Youra identified the men as Ros Kimsrun, 32, and Ang Chamroeun, 35, and said that they had been transporting the freshwater fish from near the Vietnamese border in Takeo province to Battambang province, where they planned to sell them.
Loeung Senghour, an official in the provincial fisheries department, said the men were arrested because it is illegal to catch snakehead for fish farms.
“We arrested the two people because they transported the fry without a permission letter,” he said, adding that both the men and the fish were being held at the fisheries department’s office.
“We will not send the two people to the court because this case is not criminal,” he said. “We will release them after they pay a fine, but we will not allow the pair to take the fry.”
As for the fish, Mr. Senghour said, they would be safely released once a suitable lake was found.
In 2005, the Agriculture Ministry banned the farming of snakehead fish because the ravenous fish’s appetite for smaller fish posed a danger to freshwater fish stocks.