A Surin man suspected of engaging in the illegal-ivory trade was arrested after African elephant tusks worth more than 5 million baht were found in his Tha Tum district hut.
Kampol "Riam" Noithanom, 47, a native of tambon Krapo, appeared at a police press conference Thursday following a raid on his Taklang village shack where 51 African ivory tusks, weighing a total 134.7kg, were found hidden in an ice container in a pickup truck there, Thai media reported on Friday
Mr Kampol was charged with illegal possession of carcasses of a wild animal.
Police said the suspect confessed he had bought the tusks from an ivory trader in Nonthaburi. Some pieces would be processed as decorative ornaments and exported to markets abroad.
Pol Gen Chalermkiart Srivorakhan, deputy national police chief, asked Surin police via video conference to coordinate with other relevant agencies to crack down on ivory smugglers in Surin - one of 12 provinces under close watch for illegal ivory trading. There were more than 30 shops selling ivory items in this border province, said the deputy police chief.
Thailand's crackdown on ivory trade would boost confidence among the international community, particularly among Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites) countries, said Pol Gen Chalermkiart.
Cites prohibits trade in elephant products and endangered species.