Mongolian arrested while trying to board with suitcases full of wild animals

Thai customs announced on Monday the indictment of a Mongolian man for trafficking in protected species while he tried to board a flight at Bangkok International Airport on Saturday. The kingdom is a notorious hub for wildlife smuggling, usually to China or Vietnam, which uses the species for traditional medicine.

Photo taken on February 17, 2024 and released on February 19 by the Thai Customs Department shows a snake that was rescued after being found in the luggage of a man traveling to Mongolia, at Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi International Airport. © AFP - Thailand Customs Department

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The man was preparing to board a flight to Ulaanbaatar, the capital of


. This was without counting on the flair of the customs officers, who decided to search his luggage. The intuition turned out to be correct. Inside the suitcases, Thai agents discovered an incredible quantity of wild animals, almost fifty, including exotic fish, six Indian star tortoises, five pythons, a boa constrictor and even two dragons. Komodo, the largest lizard in the world, which as an adult can reach up to three meters in length and weigh up to 100 kg.

The Mongolian was immediately charged with smuggling protected animals. This example is not an exception. Last October, wildlife trafficking hit the headlines. Several four-legged animals, including otters, turtles and marmots, caused havoc on a Bangkok-Taipei flight, after managing to escape from suitcases to wander freely around the cabin.

Wildlife trafficking has become, according to Interpol, the largest criminal activity in the world, valued at $20 billion per year.


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  • Mongolia

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