Officials Seize Reptiles From Smuggler; Suspect Flees

Customs officials in Kandal province Monday confiscated live snakes and turtles from a man attempting to smuggle the animals across the border into Vietnam, but failed to apprehend the suspect, who fled on foot, an official said.

Muong Dara, chief of customs at the Chrey Thom International Checkpoint in Koh Thom district’s Sampov Puon commune, said that one of his subordinates stopped the man at the checkpoint and found more than 100 kg of live animals hidden in a pair of baskets lashed to his motorbike and in a compartment under the seat.

“At about 11 a.m., my officer stopped the motorbike because we had received a report that the motorbike was carrying animals illegally,” Mr. Dara said, declining to say more about the tip-off.

“The driver put dead rats on top of the turtles, snakes and pythons, which he thought would hide the other animals from us,” he said, adding that when the reptiles were discovered, the man fled into a nearby cornfield and disappeared.

He said the animals were now in the care of the conservation group Wildlife Alliance.

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