August 18, 2021

Pork smugglers arrested in Banteay Meanchey, spoiled cargo destroyed

Banteay Meanchey provincial authorities seize illegally imported pigs in Malai district on Saturday. BANTEAY MEANCHEY AGRICULTURE DEPARTMENT

Khouth Sophak Chakrya and Long Kimmarita | The Phnom Penh Post
Publication date 16 August 2021 | 20:09 ICT

The animal health and production bureau in Banteay Meanchey province burned 1,500kg of spoiled pork and pig offal on August 15, one day after seizing it in a raid.

Huy Touch, head of the General Department of Animal Health and Production, told The Post that the spoiled pork meat and intestines had been imported from Thailand through a smuggling corridor in Malai district’s Tuol Pongro commune and was on a truck bound for neighbouring Battambang province.

He said the pork and intestines were rotten due to improper packaging that was not up to health and safety standards. The meat was not certified by the relevant authorities of the exporting country and had no permit from the Cambodian side, either.

“For safety and to avoid health impacts, our team asked permission from the prosecutor of Banteay Meanchey provincial court to burn all of it on the morning of August 15,” he said.

He said that during the raid on August 14, police forces had detained the truck driver and his assistant for questioning and was planning to build a case file for referral to court.

“Both of them [the driver and the passenger] just said that they are transporters of goods,” Touch stated.

However, Touch pointed out that they had hidden the identity of the owner of the goods so the police decided to build a case against them for importing meat products from abroad without permission in violation of Article 113 of the Law on Animal Health and Production.

In a similar case in Kampong Chhnang province, the agriculture department sent samples of frozen pigs from three freezers to Phnom Penh for testing after specialists stopped a truck carrying the pigs from Thailand through the province on its way to the capital without a permit.

Department director Ngin Hun told The Post on August 15 that the three freezers contained 65 piglets weighing 420kg total along with 30kg of piglet intestines.

“The animal trafficking intervention team. . . stopped the truck at 5am on August 15 in Chhouk Sar commune’s O’Rong village in Kampong Tralach district,” he said.

He said this was the first case where the specialists had encountered piglets in the province and that the goal of the traders was to bring the frozen piglets from Thailand to Cambodia through the corridor of Veal Veng district in neighbouring Pursat province – then through Kampong Chhnang – and finally to Phnom Penh by truck in order to sell them despite having no permits to do so.

“After the raid, the team sent samples of the piglets to Phnom Penh for testing for diseases. If they are found to be infected, the team will burn them,” Hun stated.

Under Article 113 of the Law on Animal Health and Production, the alleged smugglers face a fine of between 10 and 15 million riel ($2,500 and $3,750) if found guilty.

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