Thailand: Baby orangutans rescued in police sting

An anonymous tip alerted police to an online advertisement for the endangered animals, who are less than one year old and the size of infants.

By: AFP | Bangkok | Published:December 24, 2016 1:41 pm
Thailand, orangutan babies, orangutan babies rescued, wildlife traffickers, wildlife, thai police, thai police sting operation, world news, indian express news Two baby orangutans sit in a basket after they was rescued in Bangkok, Thailand, on Thursday. (Source: AP)

Thai police rescued two baby orangutans in a sting operation after undercover officers arranged to buy the primates over a mobile phone messaging app from wildlife traffickers for nearly USD 20,000, officials said. An anonymous tip alerted police to an online advertisement for the endangered animals, who are less than one year old and the size of infants.

Police then posed as interested buyers and contacted the seller over WhatsApp, according to deputy national park director Adisorn Noochdumrong. “They agreed to buy the two orangutans for 700,000 baht (USD 19,400) and transferred a 100,000 baht down payment to a bank account that belongs to a Thai man,” he told media.

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The undercover officers arranged to pick up the baby apes outside a Bangkok supermarket on December 21, where the orange-furred creatures were delivered by a city taxi driver.

The driver was arrested but cleared after authorities determined he was not part of the smuggling gang, according to wildlife police officer Anothorn Srithongbai. “As far as the real trafficker goes, that’s still under investigation,” he added.

Orangutans are native to Malaysia and Indonesia but they are often illegally smuggled throughout Southeast Asia, either for private zoos or as pets.

Thailand has long served as a transit hub for contraband wildlife products bound for major markets like Vietnam and China. Counter-trafficking organisation Freeland, which assisted with the orangutan rescue, said the attempted sale was linked to a “major regional criminal syndicate” involved in the lucrative illegal wildlife trade.

Social media has become an integral tool for such gangs to set up sales, said Matthew Pritchett from Freeland. “This case is one link in a much larger chain,” he added.

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  1. S
    Steve Johnson
    Dec 24, 2016 at 8:21 pm
    I was in Korat Thailand in 1867-68. Oran's were pretty common. So we're the snakes and every kind of bug imaginable. Kind of like Louisiana where U live now πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸΎπŸΎ
    Reply
    1. O
      Olrik
      Dec 25, 2016 at 10:50 pm
      Supermarket? They do make good eating according to an episode of "Futurama"...
      Reply
    2. B
      boB
      Dec 24, 2016 at 9:35 pm
      I'm sure you mean NINETEEN 67. :-)
      Reply
      1. B
        Bunky
        Dec 25, 2016 at 10:49 pm
        You're an .
        Reply
        1. B
          bryan
          Dec 24, 2016 at 5:02 pm
          Guys, I'm an American expat in Bangkok....please post the fugging city in the very first 3 words. - as in -"AP Chicago, IL, USA"lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;I swear, my journalist teacher in high school taught me better.
          Reply
          1. P
            pecosred
            Dec 25, 2016 at 4:29 am
            If obuttme had a son.
            Reply
            1. J
              Jim in
              Dec 24, 2016 at 1:43 pm
              Beautiful animals, docile, shy, friendly and ten times stronger than humans.
              Reply
              1. L
                Laszlo
                Dec 27, 2016 at 5:47 pm
                I've learned to my own chagrin that many common words like "were" get automatically converted to other similar words like "we're" by spell check. It's not necessarily the result of ignorance. Of course it always pays to do a careful edit before hitting the send button.
                Reply
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