A MOVE FORWARD MP-designate for Rayong province helped rescue 34 macaques from a house in his province after being tipped off by local residents that captured wild monkeys were locked up there, Naewna newspaper said this morning (June 10).
At 6 p.m. yesterday Mr. Nakhonchai Khunnarong, the MP-designate, together with Mr. Somsak Kongsombatsuk, head of Khao Chee Non-hunting Area in Sattahip, Chonburi province, and forestry officers joined a police raid on this house in Rayong’s Klaeng district.
When the team reached the rented house with no house number and electricity they found that it was locked from outside. They then spread out around the house to mount an ambush and after 30 minutes when a black pickup truck drove up quickly moved in to inspect the vehicle.
Found within were two unconscious macaques, 30 anaesthetic darts with four of them used and four 50-centimetre-long PVC pipes used as blowguns.
Arrested were Mr. Panuwat (surname withheld), 54, and his Laotian driver Mr. Tor, 35.
After entering the house the team was taken aback at the pitiful sight of macaques locked up in metal and plastic cages. They looked drowsy with one of them hugging her small baby tightly to her chest.
Upon being questioned the suspects confessed to capturing the macaques, which are a protected animal under the Wildlife Conservation and Protection Act, from Tham Khao Cha-ang Ha Yot cave and temple in Chonburi where lots of these monkeys live.
They had been hired by a businessman in Nong Khai province to capture and sell them to him at 3,000 baht each. This businessman had also supplied them with the anaesthetic darts and blowguns.
Panuwat told the police that he knew he was breaking the law in capturing the macaques but he needed money as the new school year had just started and that this was the first time he did so.
Nakhonchai said Rayong residents had contacted him about the monkey smuggling ring after watching the behaviour of the two suspects for some time. While they had locked up the monkeys at this house, they lived at another residence. He then contacted the police who upon verifying that this was true mounted the raid.
The rescued macaques are now being taken to Khao Chee Non-hunting Area where forestry officials will take care of them,
The police team accompanied by Move Forward MP-designate Nakhonchai Khunnarong and forestry officials rescuing captured macaques yesterday, June 9, 2023. Photos: Naewna