Thai Police Net Vietnam Dog Meat Gang

The photograph above (source EPA) is a shocking one but one which has a happy ending for most of the dogs locked in cages on the flat-bed truck. Thanks to the intervention of Thai police, these dogs and many others have been rescued from ending up on the menus of restaurants in Vietnam.

Photo by EPA

The animals pictured above were part of a haul of 1,011 dogs retrieved by police in Thailand’s north-eastern province of Nakhon Phanom. Police swooped in Nathom and Si Songkhram districts to save the dogs who were on route to the Laos border and eventual transportation to Vietnam where dog meat is a delicacy amongst its people. Sadly, on inspection of the traffickers ‘cargo’ 119 dogs were discovered to be dead, the majority of deaths caused by suffocation in the cramped conditions inside the cages.

Two Thai men and one Vietnamese man were arrested and later charged by police with illegal transportation and trafficking of animals. The men, if found guilty, face a maximum sentence of one-year imprisonment and also a fine of up to 20,000 baht ($660).

The Mail Online News reported that stray dogs and pets are bought for as much as 1,000 baht ($33) each from their owner’s in Thailand’s rural areas. I find that very hard to believe due to my own experience of seeing dog traffickers in operation in Thai villages.

The Bucket truck man (pictured above) is a term used to refer to a caged pick-up truck often seen in Thai villages. Some dog owners accept a plastic bucket or two in exchange for their often neglected and rejected former pets. The bucket truck operatives sometimes sweep through villages in the middle of the night rounding up any dogs they can catch irrespective of the animal’s circumstance and ownership. The dogs are then sold on to the more prominent traffickers and transported across the Laos border and Mekong River into Vietnam. The price quoted on the Mail’s online article does seem rather high for a north-eastern village.

At least on this occasion, the Thai police acted swiftly and saved over 1,000 dogs from certain death.

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Ting Tong and Dong


I'm a sixty-year-old Englishman living in the town of Swindon in rural Wiltshire and I have a real deep desire to retire in Thailand one day. If you don't have a dream then you won't have a dream come true.

9 Responses

  1. Catherine says:

    Martyn, when the news came out I immediately thought of your bucket truck post (another winner).

    And (like you mentioned), knowing the poverty of North Thailand, why would they give 1000 baht per dog? Something isn’t right…

    Also not sitting well is the notice about the donations streaming in to help the dogs. If true, TiT, those donations are sure to be siphoned off to other ‘needy’ causes.

  2. Martyn says:

    Catherine I didn’t pick this story up until yesterday which is nearly a month on from the report I read. Still better late than never and I’m sure there’s a few readers who haven’t had a sniff of it yet.

    I’ve always been a bit dubious about certain charities in Thailand. The ones which have people walking around collecting money and they give you a quick flash of their charity ID are the ones which I’m most doubtful about.

  3. Emm says:

    How horrific. Sure, they saved the dogs this time but it will still carry on. I’ve seen cattle and sheep in not much better condition in South Africa, although admittedly, they were in proper animal transport units, not in tiny crates, one on top of the other. This torture won’t stop until we stopped eating all animal meat (and I say that as a fully fledged omnivore).

  4. Martyn says:

    Emm you are right, the animal traffickers will no doubt carry on with their evil trade but it is nice to read that the authorities are at least making some effort to hunt them down.

    I’ve seen cattle in Thailand absolutely crammed into trucks so much so that one or two have become entangled in the netting at the back. It’s a horrible sight but hey….it isn’t my country or rules.

    Thanks for the read.

  5. Catherine says:

    Martyn, I guess I live a sheltered life in Thailand – I haven’t seen any charities walking around collecting money. But the ones I do donate to, I’m very careful of. The SET Foundation is pretty much the only one I trust.

  6. Martyn says:

    Catherine the ‘walking’ charities I refer to were from my days in Pattaya. I seem to recall the Boy Scouts being one charity touted by Thai men with a quickly flashed card.

  7. Catherine says:

    Curious. Are still around? Does anyone know for sure?

  8. Snap says:

    Martyn, I caught this story the first time around, but just read a follow up on Chiang Mai Mail.

    “Care for Dogs founder Karin Hawelka was on hand to add that the arrest of the two men in Nakhon Phanom was just the tip of the iceberg, over 360,000 dogs from Thailand are estimated to be killed in the dog meat trade yearly. An estimated 1,000 dogs are smuggled over the border nightly, starved, mistreated, and killed in an inhumane way.

    A rally in support of stronger new legislation ending the dog meat trade as well as a call for enforcement of current laws was held on September 4 in Bangkok. More than 1,000 people showed up for the rally. Concerned citizens can sign the petition calling for stronger legislation here:”

    Full article a little way down this page

  9. Martyn says:

    Snap thanks for the update. 1,000 dogs smuggled over the border each night is a scary figure. The yearly one scandolous.

    I followed your Chiang Mai link and read about Princess Maja. That’s good work she’s supporting.

    I read your latest post but my laptop wouldn’t play the video. I’ll try and get to an internet cafe today and watch the video and drop in a comment. I’m currently in Wi’s village.

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