Thai police arrest 'kingpin' in wildlife trafficking
Bangkok: Thai police have arrested an alleged kingpin in Asia's illegal trade in endangered species, dealing a blow to family-run syndicate that smuggles elephant ivory, rhino horn and tiger parts to Chinese and Vietnamese dealers.
Boonchai Bach, 40, a Vietnamese national with Thai citizenship, was arrested on
Friday evening over the smuggling of 14 rhino horns worth around 1 million from Africa to Thailand.
His downfall follows the December 12 arrest of Nikorn Wongprachan, a Thai National Parks and Wildlife Conservation official, at Bangkok's main airport as he attempted to smuggle the rhino horn from the quarantine section to a nearby apartment.
The horn was smuggled into Bangkok by a Chinese man who was arrested a day before on arrival from Johannesburg, South Africa.
The police sting led to Boonchai, who financed the network.
For years Boonchai and the Bach family are believed to operated with impunity from Nakhon Phanom in northeast Thailand.