Wildlife Trafficker Teo Boon Ching Is Arrested In Thailand For Smuggling Elephant Ivory, Rhino Horn & Pangolin Scales Into Asia

 

Malaysian national Teo Boon Ching, suspected of being a key player in the illegal wildlife trade between Africa and Asia for more than two decades, has been arrested in Thailand.

Ching was arrested on June 29th in Bangkok. This is his second arrest for wildlife trafficking offenses in Thailand. The first, which occurred in March of 2015, involved the seizure of 135kg of elephant ivory.

According to a statement by the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA), police have noted that Ching will be extradited to the United States to face charges for alleged wildlife trafficking and money-laundering.

Based on EIA investigations, Ching has provided concealment and packing services for numerous criminal networks involved in the smuggling of elephant ivory, rhino horns, and pangolin scales into Asia via Malaysian ports.

In EIA’s 2018 report ‘Exposing the Hydra,’ investigators documented Ching’s position as a specialist transporter assisting Vietnamese and Chinese syndicates in trafficking wildlife between Africa and Asia.

As of 2017, Ching reportedly asserts to have provided clearance services for approximately 80 containers, with only one seizure since he started operations.

The experienced criminal also claims to have participated in the significant logistics for two shipments of pangolin scales linked to the seizure of 7.2 tons of elephant ivory, which occurred in Hong Kong in July of 2017.

Based on investigations, Ching is believed to have strong connections to Customs officials at Johor Port, who enable his customers to enter the Customs Clearance Warehouse to verify goods once the wildlife shipments have arrived in Malaysia. Once cleared, the consignment is moved to Ching’s own warehouse for repacking into multiple standard air cargo packages for onward transportation.

Ching reportedly also has established strong connections with individuals involved in the acquisition and distribution of illicit wildlife commodities in Malaysia, Vietnam, China, and Laos.

“Given Teo Boon Ching’s lengthy operations in illegal wildlife trade and previous enforcement failures, this is a great opportunity to bring him and his associates to justice,” EIA Executive Director Mary Rice said in a statement. ‘’For more than two decades, Chinese and Vietnamese organized crime networks have exploited Malaysia and other South-East Asian countries as transit hubs for illegally importing wildlife commodities from Africa into Asia. The relationship with specialist transporters such as Teo Boon Ching is key to successful clearance in these countries.”

The EIA is urging the United States and law enforcement authorities in all relevant countries to work together to strengthen international cooperation on this case to conduct a thorough investigation of his wildlife trafficking offences.

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