Chinese woman arrested in Phuket for illegally housing lion cub

Picture courtesy of Wassayos Ngamkham

Phuket police apprehended a Chinese woman on the accusation of illegally housing a lion cub in her hotel room. She came under scrutiny following allegations of her showcasing the juvenile lion daily at her coffee shop.

Authorities from the Natural Resources and Environmental Crime Division (NRECD), along with local police and wildlife officials, inspected the coffee shop located in the Mueang district of Phuket. However, they found no trace of the young lion there. On further investigation, it was revealed that the owner had been keeping the lion at a hotel in the same district and bringing it to the coffee shop for a few hours each day.

Following this tip-off, the law enforcement team proceeded to the hotel, where they discovered the Chinese woman along with the two-month-old female cub, which she had named Nong Kiwi. The deputy commander of the NRECD, Police Colonel Arun Vachirasrisukanya, confirmed these details.

The woman was subsequently taken into custody as the location where the lion was housed did not comply with the necessary regulations and was deemed unfit for issuing a permit to rear the lion, reported Bangkok Post.

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Investigators learned that she had procured the cub from a company in Bangkok on January 9, shelling out 250,000 baht (US$6,930) for the animal. However, she failed to produce the requisite ownership transfer documents from the company.

She did present a document detailing a microchip number allegedly implanted in the lion. Upon checking, it was found that the lion had not been microchipped. The arresting officers inferred that the microchip document was likely for a different animal, not the cub she had acquired.

Authorities charged her with neglecting to inform the officials about her possession of the lion and illegally transferring the animal, thereby violating the Wildlife Conservation and Protection Act. She is currently being held at the Mueang police station for further legal proceedings.

The cub, Nong Kiwi, will be handed over to a suitable agency for care, as mentioned by Pol. Col. Arun.

While the police did not disclose the woman’s name, they did distribute photographs where her face had been blurred out. The images depicted the Chinese woman carrying her lion cub, Nong Kiwi, to the Mueang police station in Phuket following her arrest.

Phuket NewsThailand News

Mitch Connor

Mitch is a Bangkok resident, having relocated from Southern California, via Florida in 2022. He studied journalism before dropping out of college to teach English in South America. After returning to the US, he spent 4 years working for various online publishers before moving to Thailand.

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