Publication Date : 26-08-2012
Riding a motorcycle with a cage, Pov Nat scours rural areas for dogs. He pays between 30,000 (US$7.38) and 80,000 riel a head and sells the animals to a butcher in Siem Reap.
The 21-year-old native of Kampong Cham province began buying dogs after coming to live with his uncle in Rohal commune in Preah Nethpreah district.
"I never thought of this business. I left my hometown to find work. But I don't want to work in Thailand, so I chose this," he said.
Pov Nat said he began buying dogs after becoming acquainted with the butcher in Siem Reap. The butcher supplies restaurants catering to tourists from South Korea.
"I buy between six and 11 dogs a day and purchases are based on orders from the butcher in Siem Reap," he said. The butcher pays him 16,000 riel a kilogramme for each dog.
"Dogs bought from rural areas have good meat. The clients in Siem Reap like it but say the meat is not as delicious as dog meat raised abroad."
For now, the only obstacle to supplying Koreans with one of their favorite foods seems to be police manning checkpoints.
"They ask me for 10,000 riel when I pass each checkpoint," Pov Nat said.
"When I use something to cover the cage, they accuse me of transporting illegal animals. But when I remove the cover, they accuse me of disturbing public order. Then they accuse me of this or that and finally ask me for money."
In South Korea, where dogs are farmed, dog meat is typically prepared in a soup known as bosintang. Unlike China, where dog meat is considered a winter dish, dog in South Korea is particularly popular in the hot summer months.
(US$1 = 4067 riel)