By Tanyaluk Sakoot
The three elephants were identified as Khumsean-Uraiwan, aged 26, and Phung-Khanun, aged 13, both females, and a two-year-old baby male elephant called Noppha-kao. They were being carried in two trucks registered in Samut Sakhon and Saraburi.
The nine were charged with forging official documents and transporting the elephants illegally.
The suspects named the owner of the elephants as Piang Sala-ngam of Surin province. Sawat Patpai, one of the nine, was given the job of bringing the elephants to Phuket from Surin.
Weerasit Puthipairoj, the chief of the Phuket Provincial Livestock Office told The Phuket News, “Phuket is already overloaded with elephants. We long ago set a limit of 200 of the animals. But, there are now about 224 in Phuket.
“These people forged the transport permits – even my signature. I was not involved in any of this,” he stressed.
“Now, all three elephants are being housed in the Baan Chang Phra-Yai elephant centre (in Chalong) because that business is able to take care of them. The elephants will be sent back to Surin once this case is finished.”
Questioning of the nine suspects continues at Thalang Police Station.