King-Oua Laohong, Bangkok Post | March 17, 2021
The Anti-Money Laundering Office (Amlo) has confiscated further assets worth more than three million baht from the network of wildlife poaching kingpin Boonchai Bach.
Pol Maj Gen Piyaphan Pingmuang, acting secretary-general of Amlo, said yesterday that its officials on March 12 searched several locations in Nakhon Phanom and Chaiyaphum provinces connected to Mr Boonchai, who was arrested in 2018. These searches were part of follow-up operations, he said.
They seized 22 items valued at more than 3.2 million baht which included cash, amulets, firearms and wild animals, he said.
According to Pol Maj Gen Piyaphan, Amlo’s transaction panel on March 9 resolved to seize assets worth 30 million baht believed to belong to Mr Boonchai and his alleged accomplices.
Mr Boonchai, 40, was arrested in January 2018 in Nakhon Phanom for allegedly smuggling 14 rhinoceros horns worth US$1 million from Africa into Thailand in December 2017.
He allegedly ran a large trafficking network on the Thai-Lao border that spread into Vietnam and his arrest was hailed as a landmark case in the fight against wildlife trafficking in Thailand.
The Amlo chief said that assets worth more than 200 million baht have been confiscated from this wildlife trafficking network so far which is known to have at least 330 million baht in circulation.
Pol Maj Gen Piyaphan said Mr Boonchai’s arrest was made possible through cooperation between Thai authorities and non-governmental organisations, especially the Freeland Foundation, an international non-profit group monitoring wildlife trafficking.
According to the foundation, Mr Boonchai played a key role in smuggling ivory, rhino horn and rare and endangered species.