By Naraporn Tuarob
Seven elephants in Phuket were seized yesterday (August 21) by the Natural Resources and Environmental Crime Suppression Division (NREC) after it was confirmed that the animals’ birth certificates were fake, being from a batch of 69 phony papers issued by officials in Chaiyaphum Province.
NREC and local police simultaneously visited seven locations, most of them in the Chalong area. They were Sai Yuan Elephant Camp; Sea View Elephant Camp in Rawai; Kinnaree Elephant Trekking in Chalong; an elephant camp on the way to Big Buddha; an Elephant Camp in Kalim; the Eco Elephant Riding Camp in Cherng Talay; and the JW Marriott Resort in Mai Khao.
All seven animals seized were baby elephants – a big tourist draw because of their playfulness and cuteness.
Pol Maj Gen Norasak Hamenithi, who joined the raid on Kinnaree Elephant Trekking, said, “The livestock identification certificate is like an ID card for elephants.
“We have now issued a warrant for the arrest of Kamnan Surat Termsak, who is a headman in Chaiyaphum and president of the Elephant Association of Chaiyaphum.
“He [and others\ asked the Muang District Chief in Chaiyaphum for certificates for 69 elephants that did not exist. According to the law, certificates cannot be issued for elephants until they are eight years old, but [Surat and his partners\ said they needed the certificates because the animals were going to be moved elsewhere.”
A press release issued by the NREC also said that another arrest warrant had been issued for Prasong Bootchaipoom, though it did not say what his involvement in the case is. More....