Thai customs paws animal smuggling duo, 124 untamed treasures seized

Two men were apprehended by Thai customs officers at Suvarnabhumi Airport on Friday for alleged wildlife smuggling, according to Phanthong Loykulnanta, the spokesperson for the Customs Department. Over 124 wild, unregistered animals were seized in the operation.

A 24 year old man from Korea was one of those detained. Airport officers found 44 wild animals, including tarantulas and iguanas, concealed in luggage located in the aircraft’s cargo. The Korean suspect was en route to Seoul when authorities intercepted the luggage for inspection of illegal items.

In a similar incident, a 52 year old individual from Israel was also arrested. The traveller’s luggage, stashed in the aircraft’s cargo, was found to be housing 80 wild animals. The assortment of wildlife included turtles, snakes, and Komodo dragons. The Israeli suspect was bound for Tel Aviv when the search for illegal objects took place.

According to Loykulnanta, the two individuals are charged with attempting to illicitly export goods without following customs procedures, and smuggling controlled animals, actions that violate the Convention on International Trade.

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Thai Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin had previously ordered the Thai Customs Department to implement stringent security measures. This directive was aimed at impeding and suppressing crimes related to the illegal importation and exportation of goods subject to taxation and prohibited goods.

The recent arrests underline the effectiveness of these measures in thwarting wildlife smuggling attempts.

Thai customs paws animal smuggling duo, 124 untamed treasures seized | News by Thaiger
Picture courtesy of Pattaya News.

In related news, last month, Suvarnabhumi International Airport admitted that its baggage screening officer allowed two foreigners to smuggle animals onto a flight from Bangkok to Taipei. The airport reported it had already suspended the reckless officer after 25 more smuggled animals were discovered onboard the same flight.

A Thai passenger on a flight from Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport to Tao Yuan International Airport in Taipei, Taiwan, revealed to the public on October 3 that Chinese passengers had smuggled several animals onboard, including a rat, an otter and snakes. The animals later escaped from a bag and strolled around the cabin floor shocking passengers onboard the flight. Read more about the story HERE.

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Top is a multifaceted news writer with a keen interest in real estate and travel. Top currently covers local Thai news at Thaiger. As a travel buff, Top blogs about his travels- around the world and Thailand- during his free time.

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