Young man arrested for selling macaque monkeys, captured from the wild, online in Chiang Mai

Accused told investigating officers from Phrao district who raided his home and found two monkeys in a cage ready to be passed on for cash that he did it because his income as a delivery driver was down over the Covid-19 pandemic. 

A 26-year-old Thai man is facing 10 years in jail after charges related to the marketing of captured wild animals online have been filed against him.

Mr Theeraphol Chanmo surrounded by police officers from Phrao Police Station and the Natural Resources and Environment Crime Suppression Division after they arrested him for possession and trafficking of wild and protected animals on Saturday.

A Thai man was arrested in Chiang Mai on Saturday after police netted him in a sting operation for selling protected macaque monkeys.

26-year-old Theeraphol Chanmo was nabbed by a police officer, working undercover, who arrived at his home in the Phrao district of Chiang Mai on Saturday ostensibly to purchase two of the animals that had been captured from the wild.

Undercover police officer posed as a monkey buyer online to set up the sting to catch the wildlife seller

The price to be paid was ฿8,000 which was agreed by the police officer posing as someone who wanted to buy the baby macaques online and by phone. The monkeys were waiting to be collected in a blue cage.

It is understood that Mr Theeraphol advertised the sale of the monkeys online after he obtained the creatures from a hunter who charged him ฿1,500 for each animal.

Media briefed on Sunday by police division chief

Details of the police operation, which was conducted by the Natural Resources and Environment Crime Suppression Division and officers from Phrao police station, were given by the chief of the specialist unit, Police Major General Pitak Uthaitham.

Officers from Phrao police also assisted with the arrest of the young man who told investigators that he had set up the enterprise as a supplementary income as he was suffering from the Covid-19 crisis. He said he worked as a delivery man.

Now the hunt is on for the hunter

Police Major General Pitak said that his unit was now extending the investigation to find and arrest the hunter who captured the animals.

He said Mr Theeraphol would face charges of both possession and trafficking of endangered and protected animals.

The charges are serious in nature and could see the Chiang Mai man liable to a fine of up to ฿1 million and 10 years imprisonment given the commercial nature of what he was doing.

Macaques are of ‘least concern’ as an endangered species according to Swiss-based wildlife foundation

The macaque is in plentiful supply in Thailand, so much so, that the animals have had to be neutered in some areas of the kingdom as they pose a threat to human beings in large numbers. They are considered sacred by many groups of people.

The monkey breed is also classified by the International Union for Conservation of Nature as a species that is of ‘least concern’ in its Red List of Threatened Species due to its growing population and an ability to adapt to a variety of habitats.

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Further reading:

UK PM’s partner targets monkey coconut trade as animal rights group gets Thai products removed in shops

Thai government acts to deal with a coconut crisis as price of the crop has plunged sharply

Minister reports encouraging news as national vaccine goes forward to the next stage in trials on monkeys

Rival monkey kingdoms fought a pitched battle in the Thai city of Lopburi on Wednesday morning

Russian tourist is bitten on Phuket’s Monkey Hill prompting a review by police of security for visitors

20 monkeys poisoned in Rayong with more reports of monkey attacks on visitors as populations increase

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