Marked for the illegal market

Silent tragedy of illegal wildlife trade in South-east Asia

Drugs, gambling and exotic meats converge on the banks of the Mekong, just three hours away from Singapore. The Straits Times goes undercover in a visit to Kings Romans casino complex in Laos, a hot spot known for the blatant sale of animal products.

South-east Asia is a hot spot for illegal wildlife trade, where exotic animals and their parts are sold in markets and even proudly presented on dining tables, and Singapore has been called out by conservation groups as a transshipment hub. To learn about this nefarious business, environment correspondent Audrey Tan and photojournalist Lim Yaohui visited Laos, Vietnam and Indonesia, which have been flagged.

The first five places did not have what we were looking for.

"This is contraband and most shopkeepers will say they don't have it," our translator warned us.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on July 01, 2018, with the headline 'Silent tragedy of illegal wildlife trade in South-east Asia'. Print Edition | Subscribe