Officials from the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries are checking the health of over 100 pigs currently being held by authorities.
The pigs originated in Thailand and were illegally imported through the Cambodia-Laos border checkpoint into Stung Treng province on March 23.
Tan Phanara, director-general of animal health and production, said officials had sent the entire shipment of pigs to the capital to have them tested for African swine fever.
“Because the provincial agriculture department does not have enough space for the pigs, we transported them to Phnom Penh to have them checked for African swine fever,” he said.
According to Phanara, the pigs were first imported from Thailand to Cambodia through Laos in order to hide their origin because African swine fever is known to be spreading in Thailand. If any of the pigs come back positive for the disease they will have to be put down and incinerated rather than consumed.
He said the truck driver had been detained, but the owner of the pigs had yet to make an appearance to take responsibility.
Phanara called on all pig traders to abide by the 12 regulations recently enacted due to concerns over African swine fever and that any company could still engage in the legal import of pigs if they just followed the rules.
Bey Vanny, Stung Treng provincial coordinator for rights group Adhoc, noted that this was the first instance of crackdown over these new import regulations this year.
Vanny said he had heard that people were illegally importing pigs into Cambodia from Thailand and Vietnam earlier in the year but traders in those countries had figured out that they could bypass the restrictions by passing through Laos first.
“The authorities should ensure the prevention of illegal importation and check before permitting them to import all kinds of products, not just pigs. We have to make sure that imported foods and goods are safe, to eat” he said.