2 foreigners have been arrested for attempting to smuggle protected animals out of Thailand. Panthong Loykunan from the Thai Customs Department along with related officials reported the arrests on 17 November 2023. The officials are following regulations set by the Prime Minister to stop all smuggling activities. As a result related sectors including the customs department have enhanced the inspection process both entering and leaving the country. Officials arrested 2 suspects attempting to smuggle live animals outside of the country.
The first suspect is a 24-year-old Korean man traveling to South Korea with Thai Air Asia X Airline flight XJ700 on 17 November 2023. The man had 39 Malopacus and Iguanas. These animals are protected by CITES. CITES is the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora. The suspect had a total of 44 animals all kept inside his suitcase. All the animals were still alive and it is believed the animals will be sold once they make it to Korea.
The second arrest is a 52-year-old man from Israel traveling to Tel Aviv, Israel with El Al Israel Airlines on the same day. The man had with him 29 turtles, 31 snakes, 3 lizards, 8 geckos, 4 small lizards, 1 Iguana, and 3 Komodo dragons. These animals are all protected by CITES. In total the man had 80 animals inside his suitcase. Both suspects were stopped before the animals were taken outside of the country. It is very important to keep protected animals safe as they are endangered and have a high chance of going extinct if officials make no effort to protect them. Animal smuggling also poses a great risk to the local habitat as there is no guarantee these animals will be kept inside as pets forever.
FB Caption: Both suspects were traveling back to their home country with live protected animals inside their suitcases.