Tag Archives: boat

Snakes on A Pier! Smuggled Serpents Intercepted En Route from Thailand to Laos in Their Thousands

Snakes Seized in Mukdahan, Thailand (The Nation)

Bound for a liquor-infused finale of serpentine-inspired, aphrodisian fantasies (fallacies?), the disruption of a criminal smuggling racket in Thailand’s Mukdahan Province has led to a lucky escape for more than 2,700 snakes all set to be smuggled cross-border bound for Laos and apparently some horny drinkers and all-too-hopeful Cassanovas beyond.  

The sizeable seizure of snakes worth about a million baht (US32,000 or 275 million Lao Kip) reportedly netted some 182 baskets containing 2,730 rat snakes and cobras headed to Laos from Thailand via a long tail boat.

The smuggling operation was intercepted as the illicit slithering cargo was about to be shipped across the river from Thailand into Laos.

Thailand’s The Nation reported that checkpoint head Sathit Pisaisawat led the snake seizure effort that included his own officers plus those of Surasakmontree Military Camp’s task force and the Navy’s Mukdahan’s Mekong Patrol Operation Command at 8.30pm on Sunday evening.

The seizure on Thailand’s side of the shared border occurred at Ban Bang Sai Noi pier in Mukdahan’s Wan Yai district.

The successful disruption reportedly followed a tip-off regarding the planned smuggling operation.

It was reported that from surveillance, some 3-4 persons were seen to be moving what appeared to be plastic baskets with closed lids from a pick-up truck onto the pier for transport by long-tail boat. The persons scattered upon the approach of authorities.

Some 15 live snakes were found inside a net sack in each basket.

These were seized as evidence as the search for those involved continues. Should they be caught, suspects should expect to be charged with having wildlife in their possession without permission and importing wildlife without permission under Thailand’s Wild Animal Reservation and Protection Act 1992, it was reported.

In Laos, the snakes could be expected to be on-sold to Chinese intermediaries in order to make alcoholic beverages produced by infusing whole snakes in grain liquor.

The product is believed to be sold to those who believe it may cure what ails them (or their beloved).

Wildlife Crime

Wildlife Crime is not a Victimless Venture

Frivolity aside, cross-border wildlife smuggling is a serious crime in the region, as Laotian Times reported in February 2018.

Those with information of such incidences are encouraged to report any suspicious activities to authorities.

Organizations like IUCN, WWF and WCS and more are also engaged on the issues and welcome reports of suspected crimes.

Those on Facebook can engage with the issue via the Campaign to Abolish the Illegal Wildlife Trade in Laos.

Everytime you buy... Nature pays
Every time you buy... Nature pays

Every time you buy… Nature pays!

Boat Operators in Khong District Experience a Decline in Revenue

Boat operators in Nakasang village, Khong district, in the southern province of Champassak have experienced a decline in revenue due to the falling number of visiting tourists.

The head of the boat service association in Nakasang village, Mr. Bounseum Chanthalansy, told Vientiane Times that transportation and leisure trips are popular in the area, with both domestic and foreign visitors taking boats to cross the Mekong River for stays on Don Det and Don Khone islands.

The tourist operations also run ecotourism themed boat trips to experience island life, visit the popular Somphamit and Khonephapheng waterfalls and observe the endangered Irrawaddy dolphin.

Currently, the boating association has 132 small boats with the capacity to carry 3-8 people and 26 large boats that carry between 19-60 people. The services run from 7am to 5pm every day.

The boat service is an important source of revenue for both the boat operators and other tourist related businesses in Khong district, Mr Bounseum added.

But boat service operators have seen a decline in revenue due to the low number of visitors coming to the area. This year, the figure fell by 30 percent, compared to same period in the previous year, Mr Bounseum said.

Local authorities have made great efforts to improve infrastructure, in particular the construction of bridges and roads in an effort to attract more tourists. But the district’s move to encourage tourists with the promise of easy access may have come at a cost to the boat operators.

The heavy emphasis on investment in infrastructure has made it easier for tourists to visit local attractions without needing to hire a boat.

In recent years, a new bridge crossing the Mekong River to Khong Island has drawn more visitors to the area with their own vehicles.

Another bridge and road connecting the mainland to Don Sadam island was recently built, which provided a more convenient means for tourists to access the waterfalls and watch Irrawaddy dolphins in the Mekong.

Last year, more than 400,000 tourists visited the area. The visitors consisted mostly of Lao citizens, while the remainder came from Thailand, Vietnam, China, Cambodia and various European countries.

However, the downturn in tourists is projected to change for the better in the coming years. The official projection estimates that over 500,000 people will visit the area next year, which will contribute to the growth of the local economy.

But the effect of the recent changes in infrastructure will continue to remain a question for the boat operators who make a living by providing services for visitors.


Source: Vientiane Times

Ten Crimes Reported during Boat Racing Festival

A total of 10 crimes were reported to the Vientiane Public Security Headquarters during this year’s boat racing festival with pickpocketing being the most common misdemeanour.

JDB Crew Triumphs in Vientiane Traditional Boat Race

Thousands of people flocked to the Mekong yesterday to cheer for their favourite boat crew on a day of fine weather with temperatures just topping 30C at the annual Vientiane Boat Racing Festival, with the races taking place from 8am until 4pm.

Luang Prabang Library Boat Attracting more Young Readers

The Lao Children’s Library Boat in Luang Prabang province is using books with easy to interpret stories and illustrations which are attractive to children to encourage more reading in remote communities.

Roads still Open for Boat Racing Festival

Vientiane Traffic Police Department confirmed yesterday that roads around this year’s boat racing festival will remain open with the exception of Chao Fa Ngum Road which is closed from the International Clinic junction to Pakpasak junction.

Police Outline Boat Racing Festival Security

The Vientiane Traffic Police Department will station some 300 police around the capital’s downtown from October 11-17 to ensure public safety during this year’s boat racing festival.

Boat Racing Finish Line Moved Again

The finishing line for this year’s boat racing festival in Vientiane has been moved 200 metres downstream from the old location as the Mekong River level is higher this year.