Fake bird’s nest soup ingredient in smuggler’s boat

Bags of onions seized from a smuggler’s boat on the Moei River in Tak’s Mae Sot district. (Photos by Assawin Pinitwong)

TAK: Customs officials have seized a motorboat laden with onions, tiny marble Buddha images and tree gum used to make bogus bird’s nest soup – all smuggled across the Moei river from Myanmar.

Wallop Wutthaphanich, chief of the customs checkpoint in Mae Sot district, said on Tuesday the boat held 540 kilogrammes of tree gum, 90 bags of onions and 156 Buddha figurines.

The confiscated goods had a combined value of more than 1 million baht, he said.

The boat was found at a makeshift wharf on the side of the Moei River at Moo 3 village of tambon Tha Sai Luat in Mae Sot district on Monday, he said.

The driver of the boat, believed to be a Myanmar national, jumped into the water and swam back to the other side when he spotted Thai authorities approaching, said Mr Wallop.

He said the tree gum was of the kind used in preparing fake bird’s nest soup and was often sold illegally at border markets.

Tree gum is used to make bogus bird’s nest soup.

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