Passenger apprehended at Bangkok with a “virtual zoo” in his luggage
A 36-year-old first-class passenger from the United Arab Emirates was arrested at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi International Airport on Friday with two baby leopards, two baby macaque monkeys, two baby panthers and an Asian black bear cub in his suitcases. The man, believed to be part of a trafficking network, was about to check-in for his flight to Dubai. Undercover officers had been watching him since he had bought the rare, endangered animals on the black market. The animals, which were inside small cages of plastic boxes with holes for air, were drugged but unhurt. They were probably intended for sale in the Middle East as exotic pets.
The find is highly unusual. More often, Thailand is a hub for trafficking in rare reptiles destined for countries such as China and Vietnam. “We haven’t seen this mixture (of animals) before,” an official said. “The guy had a virtual zoo in his suitcases.”