Authorities in Mukdahan, Thailand, have seized 20 tonnes of pork smuggled into Thailand from Laos across the Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge.
Thai customs officers uncovered the smuggled pork in an 18-wheel truck that was stopped at 7:30 pm for a routine search at the animal quarantine center on the Thai side of the bridge, Bangkok Post reports.
According to Mr. Chalongrath Chansongkaew, head of the animal quarantine center, some 20 tonnes of pork was found in the truck, valued at over 4 million baht (USD 120,000).
The truck was registered to a freight transportation company whose driver said he drove the vehicle from Bangkok to Mukdahan on Friday, crossing the Mekong River to Savannakhet where the container was offloaded.
While in Savannakhet, the truck was loaded with a new container full of Lao pork, which was then smuggled back into Thailand.
African Swine Fever Sweeps Through Thailand, Laos Feels the Pinch
A wave of African Swine Fever (ASF) has swept through Thailand, wreaking havoc on the country’s pig farming industry.
Many Thai farmers have lost their businesses due to massive deaths, while pork shortages in Thailand have caused prices to soar, from 150 baht per kilogram to up to 240 baht (LAK 80,000) per kilogram.
At the same time, authorities in Laos have issued a statement on rising pork prices in Vientiane Capital, saying insufficient supply in neighboring countries has begun to affect Laos.
Market prices in Vientiane ranged between LAK 37,000 and LAK 45,000 per kilogram in December, rising to LAK 50,000 per kilogram in under a month.
Reduced supply and increased demand in Thailand have meant that more Lao pork has been exported, resulting in insufficient supply and higher prices locally, according to Director of the Vientiane Agriculture and Forestry Department, Mr. Larsay Nouanthasing.
He says that economic recovery following the easing of Covid-19 measures, including the reopening of restaurants, domestic tourism, and other activities, has meant production has not kept pace with demand.