On Thursday January 18, Bach, who also goes by Bach Mai Limh, was arrested by Thai police in the north-eastern province of Nakhon at his operational base.For over a decade, police have been trying to arrest Boonchai Bach, one of the world's most notorious wildlife traffickers and at last they have succeeded. He has reportedly been involved in smuggling thousands of tonnes of rhino horns and elephant tusks from Africa to Asia.Steven Galster, the founder of Freeland, an anti-trafficking organisation based in Bangkok, said the arrest itself was historic exclaiming that “it [was] like catching one of the Corleones,” a fictional mafia family.Since 2003, Freeland had been tracking Bach, along with his older brother Bach Van Limh, hoping to gather enough information to arrest them. As well as being linked to several infamous traffickers, there is evidence of them moving tiger bones across borders.
Source: The Guardian
15 years later, the arrest was finally made after a routine inspection of cargo on board a flight from Ethiopia revealed rhino horns in their bags. The Thai police stayed quiet and allowed them to proceed, following them to a Thai government officer who was in on the operation. The officer was then arrested along with one of Bach's relatives, who the police captured later.Galster said the officers in charge of the arrest should "be congratulated for breaking open the country’s largest wildlife crime case ever”.
Source: Sky News
He also believes that the brothers weren't working alone and are in fact part of a larger network named Hydra after its many 'heads'. He said:
They have been directly responsible for financing the poaching and logistical movement of massive numbers of endangered species for many years. This arrest spells hope for wildlife. We hope Thailand, its neighbouring countries, and counterparts in Africa will build on this arrest and tear Hydra completely apart.
The two brothers also supply south-east Asia's most prominent wildllife dealer, Vixay Keosavang, who is based in Laos. In 2013, the US governement put up a $1 million reward to end his operations.
Source: The Guardian
Behind drugs, people and arms smuggling, animal trafficking is the most lucrative black market industry, being worth $23 billion a year. 1kg of rhino horn is estimated to be worth around $100,000 and with more than 1,000 rhinos being killed by poachers in Africa each year, the species is considered critically endangered.If you would like to help save these poor animals from going extinct, you can make a donation to the World Wildlife Fundhere.
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