Pangolin scales weighed 2.9 tons and smuggled out of Central Africa with end destination in both Vietnam and China were confiscated in Thailand.
Pangolin meats and scales are in great demand in both countries because their meat is considered a delicacy and some believe that pangolin scales have medicinal qualities.
According to the disclosure of the Customs Department at yesterday's press conference taken by both the Royal Thai Police and the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation, they have seized 2.9 tons of pangolin scales worth 100 million baht in separate seizures.
They said the first shipment of 1,700 kilograms of pangolin scales were found hidden in 34 packages shipped on Flight TK064 from Kinshasa, the Democratic of the Congo, to Laos via Turkey and Thailand on December 4 last year.
The second shipment of 24 packages containing 1,200 kilograms of pangolin scales, was found on December 23.
Director-general of the Customs Department Mr Kulit Sombatsiri said the department has seized 35 million baht worth of 3.4 tonnes of pangolin scales shipped from Africa since 2012. Most of the shipments were from Nigeria to Laos through Turkey and Thailand.
Meanwhile director-general of the Department of National Parks, Wildlife, and Plant Conservation Mr Thanya Netithammakun said he believed that the seized pangolin scales were destined for China and Vietnam because they are in great demand as pangolin meats scales are considered a delicacy and have medicinal qualities.
But they have yet to be sent for laboratory test to determine their place of origin.
He said if test shows that any of the scales belong to Javan or Chinese pangolins, additional lawsuits will be filed against the smugglers.
Pangolins are now listed as critically endangered species following illegal trades and soaring demand.
Source: Thai Public Broadcasting Service (Thai PBS)