Thai customs officials seized about eight tonnes of frozen pork, worth about 1.6 million baht, from two trucks in Kantharalak district of the north-eastern province of Maha Sarakham yesterday (Wednesday).
According to the customs investigation and suppression unit based in the north-eastern region, officials received a tipoff that two trucks, one with an Ubon Ratchathani license plate and the other from Si Sa Ket, would be delivering a substantial shipment of frozen pork, smuggled into Thailand from the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, to a customer in Maha Sarakham.
A team of customs officials was dispatched to Kham Riang sub-district, where the smuggled pork was supposed to be delivered to the customer. When the two trucks appeared, customs officials at a checkpoint searched them and found the pork.
The two drivers claimed that they were hired to deliver the pork to a customer in Maha Sarakham and they were charged with illegal smuggling of a banned product and violation of the infectious animal disease law.
Thailand has banned the import of pork from abroad to prevent the spread of African swine fever. Some imported pork is also treated with chemicals to make it look fresh.
Smuggling of pork from Thailand’s neighbouring countries has been rampant in recent months, due to the wide gap between the prices of imported and locally-produced pork.
Pig farmers in Thailand have been calling on the Livestock Development Department to crack down on the smuggling of pork, claiming that the practice will ruin their business.