Alleged Malaysian ‘godfather’ of wildlife trading arrested in Bangkok
A Malaysian national wanted by the US Fish and Wildlife Service for allegedly trading in elephant tusks and rhinoceros horns was arrested at a hotel in Bangkok’s Wangthonglang district on Thursday by the so-called Green Cops.
Boon Ching Teo, 58, was dubbed by the US agency “the Godfather” due to his alleged global network of wildlife trading. He also faces an arrest warrant in Thailand issued by the Criminal Court on June 29, 2022 for trading in wildlife and money laundering.
Pol Maj-General Mana Kleebsattabut, commander of the Natural Resources and Environmental Crime Suppression Division, or the so-called “Green Cops”, said that the division has been coordinating with the US agency, which provided intelligence that the suspect is now hiding in Thailand after moving around in African countries.
Teo reportedly denied the charges, claiming that he had no involvement with wildlife trading, and that he had entered Thailand to negotiate a deal with partners regarding cannabis oil business.
He also said that he was in Africa on a vacation.
Police records show Teo was previously arrested in Thailand in 2015 for his alleged involvement in the smuggling of elephant trunks from Africa via Sadao district in Songkhla province.
Mana added that officials will transfer the suspect to the custody of the Office of the Attorney-General to process his extradition to the United States.