A Taiwanese man has been arrested at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport after he was busted trying to smuggle a prairie dog and two otters in his pants, Newsflash reports.
The 22-year-old tourist was stopped by security officers before he could board his flight to Taipei after they became suspicious about the unusually large bulge in his pants that was wiggling around.
The man was initially subjected to a series of scans that indicated something was amiss and then customs officials strip-searched him, revealing the two Asian small-clawed otters and a prairie dog that he had tried to hide in his underwear.
Thai officials said the man was trying to get on a Thai Airways flight to Taiwan with the animals in breach of regulations that are designed to protect endangered and exotic wildlife.
The suspect is now facing a slew of charges brought under Thailand’s Customs Act, Animal Epidemics Act, and Animal Conservation and Protection Act.
“Thailand is not a gateway to smuggle exotic animals out of the country,” explained Phanthong Loykulnant, a spokesperson for Thailand’s customs department. “We will catch anyone who tries to take animals on planes.”
Unfortunately, however, customs officials don’t always catch perpetrators before they get out of the country.
In October, two passengers managed to get through Suvarnabhumi Airport and onto a VietJet flight to Taipei with a whole menagerie of exotic animals, including 28 turtles, two otters, several rodents, a snake and a marmot.
The couple were only caught when two of the animals managed to escape during the flight to Taiwan, which alerted fellow passengers and the flight crew who called ahead to have the suspects detained for further questioning.
Security officers at Suvarnabhumi Airport had actually noticed something unusual in the suspect’s bag during routine x-ray screening but when it was flagged for further inspection a second officer failed to actually open the bag and look inside.
The airport blamed ‘human error’ for the lapse.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.