EAL special ops intelligence gathering efforts leads to arrest of one the most significant wildlife traffickers in South East Asia on December 12th.
December 15, 2017, Los Angeles, California: Elephant Action League (EAL) is very proud to report that the Royal Thai Police, acting on intelligence-gathering and investigative work performed by EAL, arrested one of the most wanted wildlife traffickers in South East Asia, Kampanart “Sia Tang” Chaiyamart, in Thailand on December 12, 2017.
The arrest of the head of the Chaiyamart sindycate was made after months of field activities by EAL’s Special Operations Division (SOD), and thanks to the exceptional work of the Thai Authorities.
Kampanart Chaiyamart, 35, was first arrested in 2014 after a botched deal and a routine inspection at a police checkpoint in Thailand. This turned out to be the country’s biggest bust of an alleged Siamese rosewood smuggling kingpin.
Chaiyamart’s extensive network was also involved in smuggling live pangolins, elephant ivory, and other rare animals from Southern Thailand to China. Investigators discovered that between 2011 and 2014 Chaiyamart’s operation laundered 1.18 billion baht (35 million US Dollars in 2014) through a series of bank accounts. According to the Thai Anti-Money Laundering Office (AMLO), Kampanart relied upon a vast network of associates throughout Southeast Asia to handle transactions. Kampanart’s networks utilized as many as 28 separate accounts and exploited his connections in Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, and Malaysia to move money. The network appears to have relied heavily upon cash transactions.
Unfortunately, Chaiyamart was able to get out of jail in 2016 and continue his operations. Since his release, Chaiyamart’s network has continued to traffic elephant ivory, rhino horn, pangolins, live animals such as orangutans, and illegal timber.
This arrest is a significant achievement for EAL and its newly created Special Operations Division (SOD), a covert unit within EAL comprised exclusively of former intelligence and law enforcement officers and lead by EAL’s executive director, Mr. Andrea Crosta. The SOD works to collect intelligence and investigate wildlife crime globally and, when possible, to help local law enforcement agencies effectively combat wildlife crime.
This success proves that the intelligence-based approach employed by EAL works. According to Mr. Crosta, “This shows that an NGO can, in fact, successfully conduct complex undercover operations, in countries around the world, and provide local law enforcement the information and support it needs to effectively confront and disrupt wildlife trafficking kingpins and their networks.”
Chaiyamart’s arrest could not have taken place without local law enforcement agencies. Mr. Crosta indicated that “The Royal Thai Police and Thai authorities must be praised and thanked for their exceptional work and willingness to capture this important wildlife criminal. They are a bright example in South East Asia.” He went on to say that, “We so appreciate the cooperation of local authorities and hope that this relationship leads to further arrests and convictions of wildlife traffickers.”
Going forward, EAL will monitor the trial and any legal proceedings involving Kampanart Chaiymart and work to ensure that he will be convicted, serve his sentence, and possibly collaborate with justice authorities.
About Elephant Action League
Elephant Action League (EAL) is an innovative non-profit organization based in Los Angeles, California, that merges the worlds of high-level security, intelligence and conservation in service of wildlife and the people who protect it. Its mission is protect wildlife, forests, and oceans through effective intelligence collection and investigative efforts.