Speaking to The Phuket News today (Jan 18), Chief of the Phuket Khao Phra Thaew Non-Hunting Area Conservation Centre Piyawat Sukon said, “We found the man because a tourist reported him to us via the telephone number we gave you [The Phuket News]. He was found walking around near Karon Circle.
“He was charged with possession of a protected wildlife animal without permission.
“The court will decide the fine amount or punishment for this suspect,” Mr Piyawat said.
The suspect, who Mr Piyawat preferred not to name, is the second suspect to be arrested by wildlife officials for touting a slow loris this month, after a woman was arrested similarly through a tip-off from a tourist on Jan 10.
“On January 10, Khao Phra Ta Khao Wildlife Sanctuary officers joined with police and arrested one of the suspects touting slow lorises on Kata Beach,” said Mr Piyawat.
“We told her that if she is caught again, the punishment will be very heavy,” he added.
Mr Piyawat added that like the slow loris taken into custody on Jan 10, this slow loris will be taken to Phang-Nga Wildlife Nursery Station where it will be rehabilitated. (See story here.)
The arrests follows a photo of a male slow loris tout on Karon Beach that was sent to The Phuket News and forwarded to Mr Piyawat on Dec 7. (See story here.)
The beach inspections that followed yielded no suspects as Mr Piyawat believed the touts recognised the officials’ vehicles and hid.
“The touts had either run away or were hiding. We could not find any suspects,” said Mr Piyawat on Dec 14. (See story here).
However, Mr Piyawat noted that the officials had success during the next two occasions where tourists reported sightings directly to him.
“Thank you for helping the public to communicate with us,” he said.
Mr Piyawat welcomes anyone to report sightings of illegal possession and mistreatment of wild animals directly to him on 089-873-7749.
“You can report these sightings to me directly. I speak basic English, if you are a foreigner, please speak simply and say what animal you saw, where, and when, or other important details.”