Despite Acquittal, Smuggling Trial Offered Glimpse Into Corrupt and Cruel Business of Monkey Importation

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Update (March 22, 2024): A jury has acquitted Masphal Kry of any wrongdoing in an eye-opening monkey-smuggling trial that offered a rare glimpse into the corrupt and cruel business of monkey importation. The verdict was returned moments ago.

Regardless of the verdict, the evidence showed that countless monkeys were abducted from their forest homes and laundered with dirty paperwork and that representatives from two American importers—Worldwide Primates and Orient BioResource Center (now Inotiv)—signed off on the paperwork for black market monkeys.

We also know that Charles River Laboratories is currently under federal investigation for possible violations of importation laws and continues to hold onto 1,200 monkeys who were apparently illegally imported.

It’s clear that it will be impossible going forward to prove that monkeys aren’t trafficked. So while we await the trials of the others who were indicted by the U.S. Department of Justice for their alleged involvement in the massive monkey-smuggling scheme, the primate-importation industry should be shut down now.”

Please TAKE ACTION TODAY by urging the FWS to include long- and pig-tailed macaques under the Endangered Species Act, a move that should likely greatly restrict their importation into the U.S.

The fate of an entire species of monkey could be influenced by the outcome of a trial set to start in a U.S. district court in Florida as the federal case against Masphal Kry—a Cambodian citizen and deputy of Cambodia’s Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries—gets underway on Monday, March 11.

Kry is the first individual to be prosecuted by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) following a five-year investigation by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) into a monkey-smuggling ring that allegedly abducted long-tailed macaques from their forest homes and then falsely identified and sold them as captive-bred, a violation of both the Lacey Act and the federal Endangered Species Act. The monkeys were all destined to be used for experimentation in U.S. laboratories.

The primate experimentation industry is rife with corruption, secrecy, and lawbreaking, and it goes to great lengths to hide what it does to monkeys from the time they’re abducted from their homes until they endure grisly deaths in laboratories. PETA is committed to exposing the truth and ending this nightmare, and we’ll post updates on major developments below as they happen.

In the meantime, please take action today by urging the FWS to include long- and pig-tailed macaques under the Endangered Species Act, a move that should likely greatly restrict their importation into the U.S.

Trial Background

  • Other individuals indicted by the DOJ include another Cambodian government official and the owner and staff of a Cambodian monkey farm.
  • PETA believes that Inotiv, which owns two monkey facilities in Alice, Texas, and the Miami-based Worldwide Primates are unindicted coconspirators named in the DOJ’s indictment.
  • Other primate importers, including Charles River Laboratories and PreLabs, are referenced among the thousands of pages of evidence.
  • Kry’s attorneys tried to suppress evidence, including videos filmed by the U.S. government’s informant in which Kry apparently says, “Do more business … [You will] make more money … if you make another road … for your smuggling.” Allegedly wild-caught monkeys crammed into cages wedged into Kry’s truck are visible in the video.

Trial Updates

Arguments Conclude in Monkey-Smuggling Trial; Jury Deliberations Begin

March 21, 2024

The fate of Cambodian government official Masphal Kry is in the hands of the jury after last-minute wrangling by the defense to drop some of the charges failed and both sides made their closing arguments.

Before the jury was let into the courtroom, Kry’s defense tried to get a smuggling count dismissed, saying the government had not proved its case. The judge disagreed. The charge stands, and the jury was allowed in to hear closing arguments.

‘It’s All About the Money’

The prosecution went first. Vanny Bio Research, the Cambodian monkey farm, was a company in a bind, the prosecution argued. Vanny was unable to fill orders for monkeys legally and turned to the Cambodian forestry department for help. Help was provided in the form of Masphal Kry.

Not long after Vanny officials contacted forestry officials, saying they were short 300 to 500 monkeys, they were able to ship 360 monkeys on August 24, 2018. One of the smuggling counts against Kry involves this shipment.

The prosecution said that the 2,000 endangered long-tailed macaques the forestry department collected and delivered to Vanny were permitted only for domestic breeding and that they weren’t supposed to be exported for sale, which they almost certainly were. The government also reiterated that the 3,000 “unofficial” monkeys delivered to Vanny by the forestry department were illegally collected and exported. Both the department and Kry knew it, the prosecution said.

“It’s all about the money,” the prosecution said, while reminding the jury of the video in which Kry is caught talking to an undercover informant about “your smuggling.”

Just a ‘Working Guy’

The defense painted Kry as a “working guy” who pulled up in a pickup truck in his boots and jeans with monkeys in clean cages. They said that the evidence shows a man just doing his job like everyone else and that the government may have brought this case simply to justify the expense of the investigation.

The defense attorney told a folksy tale of his grandmother’s, stating that “just because you say it, doesn’t mean it’s true,” to cast doubt on both the U.S. Fish & Wildlife (FWS) informant and an agent who testified for the prosecution. The attorney said that if people want to stop monkey exports, they should run for Congress, because it makes the laws, not prosecuting attorneys. He asked the jury to let this “innocent” man go home.

Yeah, but No

The prosecuting attorney was given a few minutes for rebuttal, jabbing that the defense’s charming anecdotes aren’t evidence. He asked that the jury use common sense and concluded by showing the video in which Kry discusses smuggling during a monkey delivery.

It’s like waving a red flag that he’s guilty, the prosecution said.

The jury began deliberations in the early afternoon. A couple of hours later, the jury asked the court a question and ended its work for the day around 4:30 p.m. Deliberations were set to resume at 9 a.m. March 22.

In the meantime, please TAKE ACTION TODAY by urging the FWS to include long- and pig-tailed macaques under the Endangered Species Act, a move that should likely greatly restrict their importation into the U.S.

Cambodian Government Official Will Face Conspiracy, Smuggling Charges, Judge Rules

March 20, 2024

The judge struck two major blows to the defense in the last day of testimony in the monkey-smuggling trial of Cambodian government official Masphal Kry, denying separate attempts by his lawyers to get the case thrown out or declared a mistrial.

Kry’s conspiracy and smuggling charges will stand. The judge also pointed out, yet again, that evidence has been well-established for some of the other indicted individuals who still face trial.

We couldn’t agree more.

Later in the day, the defense wanted to water down for the jury the use of the word “endangered” as it relates to endangered long-tailed macaques, the monkeys being smuggled.

No dice on that, either. The judge denied it. Endangered means endangered.

Kry’s Employees Testify

Kry’s defense spent the rest of the day on two videotaped depositions. The first was from one of Kry’s underlings at the Cambodian forestry department, who claimed that Vanny Bio Research, the monkey farm central to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife’s (FWS) case, did take biohazard precautions, including requiring extensive protection equipment—a mask, glasses, shoes, a hat, a shirt, and pants—before encountering the monkeys.

This contradicts video and other evidence entered earlier showing Kry and others bringing wild-caught monkeys to the farm while casually dressed, only rarely wearing just a mask or gloves. It appears that the use of personal protective equipment was reserved for visits from officials.

The subordinate also testified that he and everyone else were required to sign a logbook or they would be denied entry and that their job was to see if the number of monkeys listed on the permit matched the number of monkeys in the crates to be transported.

The second testimony came from Sovannary San, another Cambodian forestry department official who once worked for Kry. The testimony largely consisted of letters from various groups requesting that the department remove monkeys thought to be a nuisance to people or property.

San said she had visited Vanny at least five times during 2018 and 2019 to check the paperwork on monkeys and that she was handed the same list of ID numbers, which also contained the age of the monkeys and the reported number of generations removed they were from their wild-caught ancestor. But she said she had no experience with monkeys—she couldn’t tell how old the monkeys were or whether they’d been born in captivity. She accepted what was written on the permits as long as the numbers of monkeys matched up.

With that, court wrapped up for the day. One-hour closing arguments for each side are expected on March 21, and then the jury will deliberate.

In the meantime, please TAKE ACTION TODAY by urging the FWS to include long- and pig-tailed macaques under the Endangered Species Act, a move that should likely greatly restrict their importation into the U.S.

Voluminous Evidence of Falsified Paperwork; Prosecution Wraps Up

March 19, 2024

As the final day of the U.S. Department of Justice’s (DOJ) case against Cambodia government official Masphal Kry began, the first witness for the prosecution was a U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service agent tasked with analyzing years of e-mails, bank statements, and other data regarding the movement of wild-caught monkeys into and out of monkey exporter Vanny Bio Research. The agent traced individual wild-caught monkeys from delivery to Vanny in Cambodia all the way to importation into the U.S. by Orient BioResource Center (OBRC) and/or Worldwide Primates (WWP).

It appears to PETA, based on the documents and animal ID numbers entered into evidence, that OBRC and WWP were neck-deep in black market monkeys. This would make sense, as it appears that these two companies are the unindicted coconspirators referenced in the DOJ’s suit.

The agent also testified that his review found anomalies in the parentage information provided regarding the birth dates of imported animals. It indicated that some monkey mothers had given birth twice within a few weeks, he said—which, of course, is not biologically possible.

The prosecution attempted to enter into evidence a document that included parentage data for imported animals and was obtained from the subpoenas that were issued by the DOJ to OBRC and WWP. The defense objected, stating that the government couldn’t confirm the accuracy of the data, and this was sustained by the judge.

Kry’s attorneys once again claimed that the lack of the defendant’s name or signature on documents that the government entered into evidence meant that there was no proof.

They apparently hadn’t watched any of the video footage shown in court.

Kry’s defense also argued that there was no way to prove that Kry had seen an August 13, 2018, e-mail from an indicted Vanny employee to five other indicted Vanny owners/employees. However, Kry’s alias, Mark Sophal, was named in the e-mail as the government official facilitating the delivery of “official” and “unofficial” monkeys, the latter apparently referring to wild-caught monkeys who were passed off as captive-bred.

Some Charges Dropped

Then, in a surprise move, the prosecution dropped some of the charges against Kry after calling its final witness. Conspiracy and smuggling charges remained. As was to be expected, Kry’s defense moved that the prosecution hadn’t met its burden of proof that Kry was involved in supplying illegally sourced monkeys and knowingly conspiring to have the monkeys sent to the U.S. The judge didn’t rule on that motion.

No charges against any of the other named defendants were dropped.

Kry’s Defense Begins

The defense called Vich Soveacha, attorney for the Cambodian government, as its first witness, via taped deposition. In testimony referencing a letter from the forestry ministry authorizing the collection of 2,000 wild-caught monkeys for Vanny, Soveacha said that if Kry were told to do something by his superiors—any of the four people above him on the ministry’s organizational chart—he would be obligated to do so.

The prosecution countered that Soveacha had never met Kry nor seen the letter he was talking about.

The defense was expected to continue arguing its case on March 20.

Extent of Cambodian Government’s Involvement in Illegal Monkey Trade Exposed

March 18, 2024

Piles of e-mails that for the first time implicate the Cambodian government in a years-long arrangement to supply a monkey farm with illegally caught monkeys and a brush with a mistrial highlighted the sixth day of testimony in the trial of Cambodian government official Masphal Kry.

As numerous e-mails were admitted into evidence, the jury heard extensive testimony about the extent to which the Cambodian government was involved in a vast monkey-smuggling operation dating back years with Vanny Bio Research, a Cambodian monkey farm.

Two U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) agents described an August 13, 2018, e-mail among six indicted Vanny owners/employees in which 2,000 “official” wild-caught monkeys—valued at $150 each—were to be supplied to Vanny by the Cambodian Forestry Administration and another 3,000 “unofficial” wild-caught monkeys, valued at $220 each, were to be delivered by the forestry service. More about this tomorrow!

And guess whose names showed up in the e-mail? Both a forestry official, who goes by the Americanized name Mark Sophal (aka “Masphal Kry,” the defendant), and Omaliss Keo, who is the director general of the Cambodian Forestry Administration, Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries. This is the first paperwork evidence of the Cambodian government officials’ involvement.

In the e-mail, the Vanny employee writes that forestry officials wanted to start the wild-captures right away to avoid the rainy season and that deliveries to Vanny would arrive at night. The employee requested a whopping $22,000 in advance to give to that department for the costs of the first 100 monkeys. The employee writes: “Unofficial animals won’t appear on our monthly report and FA [forestry administration] will cover up from both Phnom Penh and Pursat officials, official ones arrange separately in the monthly report.”

Other e-mails described the money exchanged between Vanny and the Cambodian government for illegally captured monkeys, often in coded language to obfuscate the truth.

“Feed Material” or “donations” were often code words, according to testimony by FWS agents, hiding the exchange of money for wild-caught monkeys. One November 11, 2020, e-mail between indicted Vanny employees described $105,000 in “Feed Material” and $70,000 in “donations” to the government.


Kry’s defense, meanwhile, continued to press hard on the money that the FWS paid to the undercover informant at Vanny, Francis Yeung, during cross-examination of an FWS agent. The agent said that the informant wanted all money passed on to his family, because he was afraid he’d be killed for his testimony.

Proceedings then came to an abrupt halt. The judge asked the agent to step down and the jury to leave. At a bench meeting with both lawyers, the judge said that this was new information and that there was no previous information indicating that the informant feared for his life.

The defense moved for a mistrial or, at a minimum, to have all of the testimony of the FWS agent stricken from the record. It turns out that people get squeamish when they hear about threats against a human’s life. The judge didn’t declare a mistrial but warned the agent not to say anything again about the informant fearing for his life. She allowed the jury back in and told them to forget what they had just heard about Yeung fearing for his life. The agent took the stand again and continued, but we may not have heard the last of this—especially as Yeung earlier testified that the consequences of supplying the U.S. agents with evidence of smuggling “would be immeasurable” for him.

Worldwide Primates Implicated

The Department of Justice issued Worldwide Primates (WWP) a subpoena in the investigation, according to the testimony of another FWS agent. This is the first official confirmation that WWP was also under investigation.

That agent said prior to the subpoenas—which were also issued to Orient BioResource Center (OBRC, which later became Envigo/Inotiv)—export permits included the birth dates of the monkeys, the identifications of the mothers and the fathers, and other information. But after the subpoenas, that information disappeared.

It wasn’t part of the testimony, but that may be because parentage information isn’t available for wild-caught monkeys.

Also introduced into evidence: A July 5, 2019, phone message exchange taken from the cellphone of former OBRC executive Gary Tucker with indicted Vanny employee Hing Ip Chung in which Chung said he hadn’t included health documents for a shipment of monkeys because they contained the animals’ lineage. In the exchange, Tucker asked whether he could print the health documents without that information. Chung says yes, though previously Chung removed the health document for MB (Matthew Block of WWP) at his request. How, we wonder, could importers get away without required health documents, and what does this mean for disease risk to the U.S., when these monkeys arrive on its shores?

Say What?

In a bizarre twist, an FWS agent had earlier testified that in 2007, Block, the convicted felon who founded WWP, complained to the agency that it simply wasn’t possible that the new monkey farms in Southeast Asia, including those in Cambodia, could be offering fourth- and fifth-generation long-tailed macaques for sale. He told the FWS that those monkeys were clearly illegal and even offered his expertise to the agency.

The trial is expected to continue March 19.

In the meantime, please TAKE ACTION TODAY by urging the FWS to include long- and pig-tailed macaques under the Endangered Species Act, a move that should likely greatly restrict their importation into the U.S.

How and Why Endangered Monkeys End Up in U.S. Laboratories Become Clear

March 15, 2024

The trial of Cambodian national Masphal Kry wrapped up its first week after a long day of dramatic testimony that left no question about the work-a-day monstrousness of profiteering from endangered monkeys.

Case in point: In a bench conversation with both attorneys after the jury was dismissed for the day, the judge said, “I think that this jury or any jury would convict Vanny,” referring to Vanny Bio Research, the Cambodian monkey farm central to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s (FWS) investigation.

Unfortunately, Vanny is not on trial.

Kry’s defense team continued to cross-examine Francis Yeung, the FWS informant, focusing mainly on the amount of money the service paid him. The jury learned the extent of Yeung’s activities in behalf of FWS:

  • Yeung testified that he gave FWS agents Vanny documents, including land leases, project planning docs, and information about Vanny employees, without informing Vanny.
  • In September 2019, he also installed spyware on a Vanny computer. That only worked for about a month, he said.
  • He placed a security camera at the front gate of the facility that collected images of people and vehicles entering.
  • He also took the Vanny logbook of visitors, which was presented in court.
  • In 2018, FWS gave Yeung an app to record videos secretly.

Kry’s defense said Yeung’s activities violated the secrecy clause he signed as part of his job. On redirect from the prosecution, Yeung admitted that this was true. But, he said, since smuggling monkeys was also illegal, he was being ordered by Vanny to break the law.

Yeung also said he responded to FWS when he was first contacted in 2017 because he saw it as a “hope and the light to change the situation.” He said that if Vanny found out about his activities, the “consequences would be immeasurable.”

Video Fumble

Kry’s defense also replayed the video in which Kry talked about building another road for smuggling out monkeys to avoid attracting the attention of the public, attempting to establish that Kry was saying to the informant, YOUR smuggling, not OURS.

That point was made moot by the prosecution, which made it clear that Kry initiated the conversation and was suggesting improvements for smuggling.

U.S. Demand Fuels Smuggling

Following the introduction of a letter from the Cambodian Forestry Department authorizing the collection of 2,000 wild-caught monkeys in 2018, Yeung testified that Raphael Cheung Man and Omaliss Keo (both named in the Department of Justice indictment) discussed the need for more wild-caught monkeys to fill the demand by Worldwide Primates (WWP) and Orient BioResource Center (OBRC) for export to the U.S. (Note: OBRC was later acquired by Inotiv, the owner of a notorious beagle-breeding facility that shut down after a chain of events that followed a PETA undercover investigation.)

It wasn’t part of the testimony, but as PETA has already revealed, WWP sells monkeys to the U.S. National Institutes of Health.

There was also testimony that shed light on exactly how and why endangered monkeys are ripped from their homes and end up in U.S. laboratories:

The paperwork was admitted for a 2019 shipment of 220 long-tailed macaques from Vanny to WWP, with a declared value of $524,018. The jury  heard that the average price for a long-tailed macaque in 2017 and 2018 was $1,600 to $1,800 each and then later learned that from 2021 on, the value of long-tailed macaques skyrocketed to $12,000 to $15,000 each.

Sara Greenwood, an FWS agent in charge of conducting inspections of newly arrived long-tailed macaques, testified that this was one of the shipments containing a marked crate holding a wild-caught monkey from Vanny. The crate was marked by Yeung in Cambodia with a substance visible only under UV light. But the permits showed that all the monkeys were captive-bred.

Greenwood testified to additional instances:

Paperwork for another shipment of 540 long-tailed macaques from Vanny to WWP was admitted, this time from April 2019. The declared value was more than $4 million. The permits for this shipment also said all the monkeys were colony-bred., though they were captured from the forests.

Paperwork for a third shipment in May 2019 was admitted showing 360 long-tailed macaques from Vanny with monkey dealer OBRC as the recipient. An FWS agent at JFK International Airport in New York was told by colleagues that she should inspect several crates, including crate #22. The crate had the UV-visible marking.

An OBRC veterinarian accompanied the shipment. He was messaging then-OBRC Vice President Gary Tucker, who insisted the agent “speed up” the inspection. Tucker argued that FWS no longer had jurisdiction and that it belonged to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

In 2021, Tucker was convicted of lying to FWS agents, claiming OBRC workers didn’t prepare reports of their visits to Cambodian suppliers of monkeys the company imported.

Hints of a Cover-Up 

FWS agent Dorothy Manera testified that prior to 2019, shipments of monkeys arriving from Vanny would include detailed documentation about the parentage of the imported monkeys, including the IDs and ages of each imported monkey’s mother and father.

But Manera said that after the government issued a subpoena in May 2019, none of the shipments to OBRC had that information anymore.

Possibly because when you capture monkeys from the forest, you have no idea who their families are.

The trial is expected to continue March 18.

In the meantime, please TAKE ACTION TODAY by urging the FWS to include long- and pig-tailed macaques under the Endangered Species Act, a move that should likely greatly restrict their importation into the U.S.

Graphic Videos Show the Pain and Misery Behind Monkey Dealers’ Profits

March 14, 2024

Day four brought seven graphic and disturbing videos that make one wonder how people involved in this business can sleep at night. The alarm calls and cries of distress from the monkeys in one of the videos were so overwhelming that the audio had to be turned off.

The first video shows an alleged monkey smuggler arriving at the Vanny Bio Research monkey farm in a passenger car with long-tailed macaques who had been ripped from their forest homes and individually stuffed into green nylon bags that were sealed shut. The alleged perpetrator who delivered the live cargo is called the “legendary lady,” apparently for a good reason: During the course of the investigation, she has taken nearly 27,000 monkeys from the forest and delivered them to Vanny Bio Research, as estimated by the U.S. government’s witness, Francis Yeung.

In the video clip shown in the courtroom, terrified monkeys are removed from the bags one by one, their arms pinned together behind them, for a Vanny veterinarian to do a quick visual exam. Young monkeys who had likely never before been separated from their families cried in fear. Yeung testified that if a monkey weighed at least 1.5 kilograms (about 3.3 pounds) and wasn’t obviously suffering from a disease, the animal was collared and tagged in preparation for export.

Monkeys deemed unsuitable to ship to overseas laboratories, like those who obviously had a deadly disease, were sent back with the smuggler or immediately killed at Vanny—collateral damage.

Why, one might ask, is Vanny claiming that it operates a monkey-breeding farm if tens of thousands of wild monkeys are being captured and sold? Yeung addressed that, too. The so-called breeding colony wasn’t actually producing babies. The building that was supposed to house the babies was instead used to stick the wild-caught monkeys in.

Fast-Track to Laboratory Hell

These wild-caught monkeys were then “fast-tracked” for export. What this means, according to the witness, is that the standard 30-day preshipping quarantine period turned into a less-than-30-day stint in cages at Vanny—and they were in the room with other monkeys also in quarantine. The concept of disease transmission seemed to be unknown or at least ignored.

If all this is true, it means that stressed monkeys with unknown histories are being flown out of Cambodia into the U.S. without even a one-month disease observation period. Perhaps it’s no surprise that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports a shocking increase in tuberculosis cases among monkeys in U.S. labs. But what should we expect, given that the CDC is on record saying that it doesn’t require prearrival testing for imported monkeys?

A second video shown by the prosecution and described by Yeung showed defendant Masphal Kry and another person arriving at Vanny in a government vehicle loaded with cages containing wild-caught monkeys. The witness explained that Kry, unlike the “legendary lady,” didn’t help unload the cages because he—Yeung—would never ask a government official to do such a thing.

And we guess that Kry didn’t offer to help. Deliver trafficked monkeys? OK. Manual labor? Apparently not.

Keeping It Secret

The video that was first shown at Kry’s suppression trial in April 2023 (and is at the top of this page) was also shown to the jury today. Yeung testified that when Kry suggested building a new road “for your smuggling,” Kry was “referring to the smuggling activities of our company.” He also testified that the reason for considering building a new road was a concern that villagers who see trucks filled with monkeys on the main road might suspect illegal activity and report it. Code words like “monkey food” or “bananas” were used to describe monkey deliveries by the Cambodian Forestry Administration and staff was instructed to go against protocol and not to keep records of the visits by these officials when they made deliveries of wild-caught monkeys, he testified.

The Informant

In case you’re wondering just how Yeung knows all this, he provided an explanation on the stand today. He was responsible for documenting and receiving monkeys at Vanny. He has handled all the logistics for the international shipments since 2015 and dealt with Cambodian government officials and black-market smugglers alike.

When the monkeys were shoved into crates and loaded onto trucks, he accompanied them to the airport in Phnom Penh. And he was with them when they were taken by truck across the border into Thailand, transferred to another truck, and driven to the Bangkok airport for export overseas.

The Tipping Point

By 2017, Yeung explained, Vanny couldn’t produce enough monkeys by breeding who were in good enough shape to sell—and that’s when the wild-caught ones started really pouring in. So he contacted a nonprofit group in the U.K., which shared the information with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS). FWS later contacted the witness and brought him on as a confidential informant. During the five years that he shared information, Yeung was paid $224,000, and he was then relocated to the U.S.

The trial is scheduled to continue March 15.

In the meantime, please TAKE ACTION TODAY by urging the FWS to include long- and pig-tailed macaques under the Endangered Species Act, a move that should likely greatly restrict their importation into the U.S.

Fireworks at Monkey-Smuggling Trial as Lawyer Takes Aim at PETA

March 13, 2024

The trial of Cambodian government official Masphal Kry was paused because a jury member was sick, but that didn’t stop the fireworks from continuing.

During an exchange with the judge, Paul Pelletier, an attorney representing an unnamed and unindicted coconspirator implicated in the U.S. government’s case against Kry, said his client’s basic rights would be violated if certain exhibits were admitted into the trial.

The judge disagreed, saying her review found nothing proprietary or that would have an economic impact on Pelletier’s client.

One of the exhibits contained photos of shipments from Cambodian monkey farm Vanny Bio Research to Worldwide Primates in 2019, showing grinning humans standing in front of hundreds of dilapidated crates packed with endangered long-tailed macaques destined for export. Noteworthy is the complete absence of any biosecurity measures.

Shipments from Cambodian monkey farm Vanny Bio Research to Worldwide Primates in 2019, showing grinning humans standing in front of hundreds of dilapidated crates packed with endangered long-tailed macaques destined for export.
This photo, one of dozens submitted as evidence in the trial, was taken in mid-July, a time when temperatures and humidity are oppressive in Cambodia. But with no regard for biosecurity or animal welfare, more than 100 endangered long-tailed macaques were crammed into wooden crates that were stacked atop one another in the back of a truck. All the animals were bound for Worldwide Primates in the U.S.

Pelletier seemed less concerned that the jury would see the exhibits and more about PETA seeing them, as evidenced by his apparent panic at the thought.

Three Trues and a False

Pelletier seems to have forgotten PETA is not on trial here. He levied several accusations against us during his exchange in court. Three of them are true, and one is false. Here’s the breakdown:

Pelletier asserted that PETA had identified on our website his client, whom evidence indicates is Worldwide Primates (WWP), as one of the unindicted coconspirators in the government’s case against Kry.

  • True. We sure did. For good measure, here it is again: Court documents provide enough information, such as the location of the facilities, to point to two companies as the unindicted coconspirators—monkey dealers WWP and Inotiv, which disclosed publicly that it had been subpoenaed by federal authorities.

Pelletier said that PETA has stated on our website that we want to put WWP out of business.

  • Also true. PETA wants the forest-to-farm-to-pharma abuse to end. We’d like superior, human-relevant research methods to be implemented, and we know treatments and cures would be developed more quickly if they were. But given Pelletier’s apparent fear over the evidence, WWP seems to be doing a fine job of putting itself out of business.

Pelletier exclaimed that PETA’s activism against the primate experimentation industry was making it nearly impossible for his client to find an airline to transport monkeys.

  • True. And thank you for the recognition. But ultimately, it was consumers who wanted to end the imprisonment and torment of animals who brought this about.

Pelletier shouted that the prosecution had slipped information surreptitiously to PETA, which we have put on our website.

  • This one is false. The video he referred to was entered into evidence in an April 2023 suppression hearing. It was not filed or submitted under seal, and the hearing was open to the public. Like everyone else, PETA is allowed to exercise our First Amendment right to obtain information entered into the public record.

Pelletier declared that PETA is “trying to destroy a lawful American business.”

  • Apparently, there’s not much that’s lawful about it. And not to put too fine of a point on it, but WWP was founded by Matthew Block, a convicted felon, who once sent himself suspicious white powder in an envelope and tried to blame animal rights activists for it. The authorities were not amused.

All of Pelletier’s complaints come back to this: He and his client believe that monkey trafficking, importation, and experimentation should be shrouded in secrecy, and PETA’s attention to and dissemination of publicly available information is a threat to the industry’s very existence.

Bonus lightning-round statements: Pelletier suggested that “it is required by law to test on these primates”—it is not—and that his client is involved in “noble” and “vital research,” including selling monkeys to the U.S. government for vaccine research and that all of this could come to a grinding halt if PETA keeps laying hands on information. We certainly hope so. Monkeys and humans both deserve better.

The trial is scheduled to continue on March 14.

In the meantime, please TAKE ACTION TODAY by urging the FWS to include long- and pig-tailed macaques under the Endangered Species Act, a move that should likely greatly restrict their importation into the U.S.

Charles River Laboratories Implicated in Monkey-Smuggling Trial

March 12, 2024

Charles River Laboratories was implicated as a “VIP” client of a fetid Cambodian monkey farm that allegedly made hundreds of thousands of dollars trafficking more than 30,000 endangered monkeys who had been illegally caught in nature during the U.S. government’s five-year investigation, according to statements and testimony on Tuesday during the second day of the trial of Masphal Kry, a Cambodian Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries official accused of aiding an international monkey-smuggling ring.

There were many moving parts in the day’s fast-moving proceedings. A rundown of the major points follows.

  • A huge smuggling ring: Assistant U.S. Attorney Emily Stone said during her opening statement that the government would present evidence of a conspiracy to smuggle wild-caught monkeys into the U.S. and of money laundering and permit falsification. She stated that the government’s evidence would show that the Cambodian monkey farm, Vanny Bio Research, received more than 55,000 wild-caught monkeys and sent 30,000 of them to companies in the U.S. Some of these monkeys were tracked by an informant in Cambodia who sprayed a substance on them that could be seen only under a black light, including when the monkeys arrived at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York.

Vanny paid Kry and other coconspirators hundreds of thousands of dollars for trafficked monkeys when their price soared during the COVID-19 pandemic, Stone said.

Kry’s lawyers countered by alleging that he had collected long-tailed macaques in accordance with Cambodian law and that he is a wildlife protector. They claimed that any illegality the government found was the work of others, not Kry. Their reasoning is difficult to follow on this point, and their defense so far consists of blaming everyone else, from the informant to the entire monkey-exportation/importation industry.

  • Not-so-secret intervenors: There are third-party intervenors in this trial—the unindicted, unnamed coconspirators implicated in the U.S. government’s case against Kry—and their lawyer made an appearance. Although they’re not named, PETA believes, based on descriptive information, that two of them are monkey dealers Worldwide Primates, whose attorney spoke, and INOTIV.

The attorney representing the coconspirator, Paul Pelletier, seems desperate to prevent the jury from seeing one particular exhibit because it would have “severe economic outcomes” for his clients.

We don’t yet know what “Exhibit 64” is, but it’s labeled “MB/NHP Correspondence.” Could “MB” stand for Matthew Block, who served time in prison for smuggling orangutans and was later caught mailing himself a suspicious white powder and claiming it had been sent by animal rights advocates?

  • Foot, meet mouth: The prosecution called Agustín Fuentes, an expert witness on long-tailed macaques, who testified that this monkey species has declined dramatically. Kry’s defense immediately countered by showing video footage of hundreds of the monkeys clambering on a temple, claiming that the witness had no idea what he was talking about and declaring that there are clearly too many of these monkeys in Cambodia.

Fuentes explained that the video showed a temple in Thailand, not Cambodia.


Kry’s attorney also presented an academic publication about long-tailed macaque populations in Cambodia, only to discover that the paper actually demonstrated a decline in the species’ numbers.


  • The tragic reality of monkey smuggling: Second on the stand was Francis Yeung, a U.S. government informant who had worked at Vanny. He was shown images of the company’s breeding facility that revealed broken cages filled with feces, overflowing sewage drains, and sickly monkeys. The prosecution argued that one of the reasons why Vanny needed wild-caught monkeys was that its “breeders” and other animals were unfit for export.

In his testimony, Yeung said Charles River was a “VIP” client of Vanny. Yes, that Charles River, the one that’s holding onto more than 1,000 monkeys who should be released to sanctuaries and is trying to build a massive monkey-breeding facility in Brazoria County, Texas. He also said Vanny had killed at least 7,000 monkeys in 2012 because there weren’t enough buyers.

Finally, Yeung testified that Worldwide Primates had targeted 40% of the monkeys at Vanny for export and that the company had complained that they arrived with pieces of metal wire in their stomachs. He said that Worldwide Primates had sent one of its veterinarians to Vanny to see if they could weed out those monkeys.

The trial is scheduled to continue tomorrow.

More updates will follow as developments unfold. In the meantime, please TAKE ACTION TODAY by urging the FWS to include long- and pig-tailed macaques under the Endangered Species Act, a move that should likely greatly restrict their importation into the U.S.

PETA Protests Outside Court on Day One of Accused Monkey Smuggler’s Trial

March 11, 2024

PETA led a protest outside a federal courthouse in Miami while jury selection was completed today in the case against Masphal Kry, the Cambodian government official accused of aiding an international monkey-smuggling ring.

Three demonstrators stand outside, two wearing monkey masks

Outside, protesters demanded that the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) add vulnerable monkey populations that are being decimated by insatiable laboratory demand to the endangered species list and shut down the primate-importation pipeline. Inside, jurors were chosen from 45 candidates. Opening arguments are expected to begin tomorrow.

Kry’s attorneys—who refuse to pronounce the word “macaque” correctly—are trying to prevent the jury from seeing dozens of accurate photos taken at the monkey farm where Kry allegedly delivered wild-caught monkeys. They show monkeys crammed into fetid, broken, and rusty cages in which the food troughs are full of feces and maggots. Kry’s defense argues that these photos would prejudice the jurors. What they show is the unvarnished reality of an industry steeped in violence. And everyone should see them.

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