, BANGKOK, Jun 10 – Thai police said Monday they had discovered more than 200 live wild animals including monkeys, tortoises and 14 white lions during a raid on a house in the capital Bangkok.
Two Thai men, including the owner of a pet shop at the city’s popular Chatuchak market, were charged with illegal wildlife trading. If convicted they face up to four years in jail and a 40,000 baht ($1,300) fine.
“We received a complaint about the smell from the neighbours and after investigating we discovered the animals hidden there,” Police Colonel Ek Ekasart told AFP.
He said the lions were believed to have been brought into the country using permits for sales to zoos, but instead offered to private buyers.
The two suspects deny involvement in illegal wildlife trade. One was found guilty of the same charge four years ago.
Once the legal process is completed, some of the animals could be released into the wild and others sent to zoos, police said.
Thailand has a reputation as a hub of international wildlife smuggling to feed strong demand in Asia for unusual pets and traditional medicines made from animal parts.