Bhutanese smuggling Cordyceps into Thailand

Three consignments of Cordyceps were confiscated by Thai authorities.

| Dechen Dolkar, Thimphu

The Bhutanese Embassy in Bangkok has reported three cases related to confiscation of Cordyceps in the last two months.Cordyceps Wild Tibet Dong Chong Xia Cao chong cao (1)
The report was circulated by the Bhutanese Embassy in Thailand to the Department of Agriculture and Marketing and Cooperatives (DAMC) under the Ministry of Agriculture and Forests (MoAF).
In the report dated August 22 this year, “Thai Custom officials apprised that Cordyceps is not a contraband or prohibited item in Thailand”, unless one possesses an import license/permit from the food and health control organization of the Thai health ministry.
According to the marketing officer of DAMC, Dorji Wangchuk, the export permits issued from Bhutan is not sufficient for legally exporting Cordyceps.
Even if Cordyceps are legally exported, customs duty of 200,000 to 250,000 Baht per kilogram will be levied depending on the quality.
He also added that the goods will be also confiscated if not declared at the Thai Customs. If the confiscation is challenged, the case will be referred to Thai Airport police, whereby the illegal importer will be detained and charged with criminal acts, including imprisonment and 130 percent penalty and the goods will not be returned.
The report further stated that again on August 21, the third illegal importer was caught with Cordyceps undeclared at the customs gate. All efforts by the Embassy failed to release the goods and send back. The importer agreed finally to buy back at 130 percent after obtaining the import license/permit from FHCO, as a special case. This facility was reportedly extended as the importer pleaded innocence on the customs formalities.

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