Vietnamese border guard officers busted the illegal transport of 94 iguanas and turtles weighing nearly 335 kilograms from Cambodia into Vietnam earlier this week.
The border guard unit at Long Binh Border Gate, which lies along the border between Cambodia and An Giang Province in Vietnam’s Mekong Delta, confirmed on Tuesday they were working with the provincial Forest Protection Department to investigate the wildlife smuggling case.
At around 2:10 am on Sunday, officers on duty at the border gate noticed three suspicious individuals unloading goods from a boat along the bank of the Hau (Back) River.
The three people escaped as soon as they saw the border guard officers, leaving behind their boat.
The officers examined the boat along with the riverbank and discovered 10 boxes together with three sacks, all containing 52 iguanas weighing over 260 kilograms and 42 turtles weighing more than 73.8 kilograms.
They later handed over the wild animals and relevant exhibits to the An Giang Forest Protection Department to facilitate the investigation.
Illegal wildlife transport in Vietnam is punishable by a fine worth up to VND360 million (US$15,400) in accordance with Government Decree No. 35/2019.
If the animals are classified as rare or endangered, violators will be criminally charged and face prison terms of six months to 12 years, according to the Penal Code.