The Asia Environmental Enforcement Awards recognize and celebrate excellence in enforcement by government officials and institutions/teams combatting transboundary environmental crime in Asia. This is the third time the Awards will be given by UN Environment following earlier ceremonies in 2015 and 2017. This year Awards will be given to recipients who demonstrate excellence and leadership in the following categories: integrity, impact, innovation and collaboration.
The 2018 Awards are presented by UN Environment in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, INTERPOL, USAID, Freeland Foundation, and the Government of Sweden. Financing of the Awards is being supported by different partners, including generous support from the Government of Norway.
In May 2018, Law Enforcement Authorities in Thailand have arrested one of the world’s most notorious wildlife traffickers, allegedly involved in the smuggling thousands of tonnes of elephant tusks and rhino horns from Africa to Asia.
Mr.Boonchai Bach was arrested at his operational base in the north-eastern province of Nakhon Phanom, next to the Mekong River. The arrest came after a routine inspection of cargo on board a flight from Ethiopia. An x-ray revealed rhino horns in bags, but Thai police allowed the suitcases through and followed them to a Thai government officer working in the airport. He was arrested, along with a relative of Boonchai Bach, who police captured shortly after.
The arrest is the result of complex investigation among different authorities in Thailand. The profilling of foreign smuggler, the arrest of an official operating within the airport, a domestic controlled delivery to identify the use of digital forensic software to trace the head of the ring - these are just some of the advanced techniques utilized in this case. The arrest of Mr.Boonchai Bach is a success story because it affects an international criminal syndicated and it hit the very top of such structure.
This excellent work in combatting transboundary environment crime has been recognized by the selection panel appointed by UN Environment. Thailand team composed of the Royal Thai Custom, the Royal Thai Police and the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation has been selected as one of the winner of the Asia Environmental Enforcement Awards.
The purpose of the Asia Environmental Enforcement Awards is to publicly recognize outstanding achievements by public organizations and individuals in Asia to combat transboundary environmental crime.
An award ceremony was held on 21 November 2018 at the United Nations Conference Centre in Bangkok, Thailand.