Thai Highway Police in Sa Kaeo province have rescued 24 baby crab-eating monkeys, arresting a Thai driver and five undocumented Cambodians attempting to smuggle the endangered species to Cambodia, where they were destined for cooking pots in Chinese restaurants.
Sa Kaeo Highway Police Thursday were suspicious of a pick-up truck at a check point along the Sa Kaeo-Bangkok road, as it was being driven at high-speed.
Stopping the truck for a search, police found the 24 baby monkeys, each separated in a net bag, and seized
equipment used for catching monkeys, including nets, traps and nylon bags.
After questioning, the police said the suspects were all monkey traders in Prachinburi, who had been illegally delivering the animals to Chinese specialty restaurants in Cambodia.
They received Bt100 per monkey, the police said, adding that the gang carried out the illegal trade for many years.
All six men were charged with smuggling endangered wildlife, while the five Cambodians were also charged with illegal entry.
The crab-eating monkey is found in a wide variety of habitats, including rainforests and coastal mangrove forests.
The little creatures have short arms and legs, dark noses,and black fur which turns yellow green, grey-green or reddish-brown shades as they mature. They are distinguished by blue abdominal skin.
The crab-eating monkey or long-tailed macaques are among the most commonly used laboratory animal, second only to the rhesus monkey. They were used extensively in studies leading to the development of the polio vaccine.