Feline fine: Chinese couple’s lion taming lands them in hot water

Photo via DailyNews

Police yesterday charged a Chinese couple at their luxury home in Pattaya for illegally housing two lions. The couple were also suspected of illegally importing luxury cars, a Ferrari and a Rolls-Royce.

Officers from Nongprue Police Station and the Office of Natural Resources Conservation Area 2 (Sriracha) raided a luxury home in the Bang Lamung district of Pattaya yesterday, July 4, after a tip-off that the foreigners who owned this house possessed illegal items.

According to police, the two-storey house was owned by a Chinese couple, whose identities were not revealed. Two Thai people were employed as caretakers and were present at the property during the raid.

Police noticed that a part of the house had been modified to be an animal cage, much like a zoo. The cage was surrounded by a glass window, and two lions were spotted inside.

Officers requested to see the relevant documentation for possession of the animals but the Chinese couple failed to produce it. It was reported that the two lions were male but their health and living conditions were not mentioned.

Officers also discovered two luxury cars, a red Ferrari and a white Rolls-Royce SUV, parked in the garage. They suspected that these cars might have been imported illegally without customs proceedings, so the cars were confiscated for further investigation.

Police initially charged the foreigners with violating Section 19 of the Wildlife Conservation and Protection Act: possessing controlled animals without a permit. The penalty is imprisonment of up to one year and a fine of up to 10,000 baht. If other offences are found, additional charges will be issued later.

In a similar incident, a Chinese woman was arrested in Phuket in February after illegally housing a lion cub in a hotel room in the province. Her arrest was made after the woman took the lion to a coffee shop daily during her stay in the province.

Another lion cub was spotted at a café in Phuket in the same month. A Chinese man, identified as Khai, was present at the location during a police raid. The foreign man claimed to be a friend of the café’s owner who also owned the animal. Police investigated the owner of the lion, but there have been no public developments.


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Petch Petpailin

Petpailin, or Petch, is a Thai translator and writer for The Thaiger who focuses on translating breakingThai news stories into English. With a background in field journalism, Petch brings several years of experience to the English News desk at The Thaiger. Before joining The Thaiger, Petch worked as a content writer for several known blogging sites in Bangkok, including Happio and The Smart Local. Her articles have been syndicated by many big publishers in Thailand and internationally, including the Daily Mail, The Sun and the Bangkok Post. She is a news writer who stops reading news on the weekends to spend more time cafe hopping and petting dwarf shrimp! But during office hours, you can find Petch on LinkedIn and you can reach her by email at petch@thethaiger.com.

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