Police arrest bat-eating YouTuber in northeast Thailand


Yesterday, the Thai woman who ate bat soup on YouTube was arrested in Sakhon Nakhon province in northeast Thailand.

Officers from Phon Kaew Police Station arrested the YouTuber – who is also a teacher – under suspicion of “possession of protected wildlife carcasses,” violating Section 17 of the Wildlife Conservation and Protection Act (2019).

Police also charged the YouTuber with crimes violating the Computer Crimes Act (2007).

The YouTuber is facing up to five years in prison and/or a fine of up to 500,000 baht.

Police said that she initially denied the charges.

The bat eater has since posted another video online apologising to “society, doctors, journalists, colleagues, family, and friends.”

She said she did not have ill intentions and said it was a case of “not thinking” enough.

The YouTuber promised not to eat bats again.

ORIGINAL STORY: VIDEO: Bat-eating YouTuber sparks outrage in Thailand

Netizens in Thailand are outraged at a Thai YouTuber with 400,000 subscribers for eating bat soup – and encouraging others to eat bat meat – on her channel ‘Gin Zap Bep Nua Nua’ (“Eat spicy and delicious.”)

The YouTuber confidently rips apart the bats, swimming in a mud-coloured soup with cherry tomatoes, and dips the meat in Nam Jim, a type of spicy dipping sauce.

In an Isaan dialect, the YouTuber says how delicious the bat is and compares it to eating rat meat.

At one point, she holds up a whole bat to the camera and says, “it has teeth.” At first, she was eating just the bat meat, but then she starts crunching on the bones, saying “the bones are so soft.”

Professor Teerawat Hemajuta from the Faculty of Medicine at Chulalongkorn University says, “you should not mess with bats.” The professor said that bats contain severe pathogens that can make you very ill and could start another pandemic.

Even if the bat is cooked properly, there is still a high risk of contracting an infection, said the professor. Nasty pathogens are found in the bat’s organs, blood, and even fur. Simply handling a bat can cause you to fall ill.

One netizen commented

“If you’re going to die, die alone. No one will blame you. But you’ll be damned if you start a pandemic.”

“You put yourself at risk. If you get sick don’t bother burdening doctors and nurses,” another angry netizen commented.

Others criticized the YouTuber as being “hew seang” (attention-seeking) and scolded her for risking her health for views online.

In September, a Thai doctor warned the public against eating bat meat after a “bat hunter” in Sukhothai started selling bats for 100 baht per kilo. The “bat hunter” claimed eating bats restores your energy and is delicious in Thai red curry.

Dr Rangsarit Kanchanawanit from the Department of Medicine at Chiang Mai University said bats carry over 10,000 viruses that could be transmitted to humans and start another pandemic.

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Leah is a translator and news writer for the Thaiger. Leah studied East Asian Religions and Thai Studies at the University of Leeds and Chiang Mai University. Leah covers crime, politics, environment, human rights, entertainment, travel and culture in Thailand and southeast Asia.

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