African lions found in Bangkok

Police arrested the owner of a house in Min Buri district after they found 14 African lions and assorted monkeys, reptiles and birds being kept on the property.

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Two of the 14 African lions animals seized by police and officials of the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry at a house in Min Buri district on Monday. Many other wild animals were also found. PATTANAPONG HIRUNARD

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African lions found in Bangkok

Bangkok residents collect a lot of strange things, both legally and illegally, but police and wildlife officials were shocked to find a homeowner was keeping 14 African lions plus a large assortment of monkeys, reptiles and birds.

Tipped off by residents who said they frequently heard the lions roaring and could smell excrement, police and officials of the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry raided the home located on a two-rai plot on Soi Hatairat 39 in Klong Sam Wa district.

In addition to the lions, which appeared to be in good condition in cages in the large compound, police found four otter civets, two hornbills, one loris and 23 meerkats. At least 1,000 sugar gliders, 12 peacocks, 13 turtles, six minks, four miniature pigs, 17 marmosets, a number of birds, and some stuffed animals were also in the haul.

The suspected owner of the animals, Montri Boonprom-orn, and his assistant Rongroj Watanapongsawat were arrested.

Mr Montri told investigators he has import licences for the foreign animals, most of which came from South Africa, authorities said. He has provided documentation to help in the investigation, officers added.

He claimed most of the animals were legally imported from South Africa and belong to a private zoo in Nakhon Ratchasima province. A zoo owner had asked him to help take care of the animals for a short time. The lions were imported for 200,000 baht each.

Police charged both men with possession of protected wildlife without permission. The charge carries a maximum fine of 40,000 baht and four years in prison.

Sakda Noppasit, secretary to the natural resources and environment minister, said the suspects registered a company for importing wildlife for study purposes but it was clear their company has nothing to do with research or study. ‘‘The value of this animal trade was more than 10 million baht. Some influential people may be behind the crime,’’ he said.

Adapted from a story by Apinya Wipatayotin in today’s Bangkok Post.

seize – to take something using official power and force ยึด, จับกุม
Natural Resources and Environment Ministry – the Thai government ministry responsible for the protection of the nation’s natural resources: water, oceans, minerals, forests and jungles. It is also responsible for the protection and restoration of the environment. กระทรวงทรัพยากรธรรมชาติและสิ่งแวดล้อม
wild – living or growing in natural conditions; not kept in a house or on a farm ไม่เชื่อง
residents – people who live in a particular area ประชาชนที่อาศัยในท้องที่
collect – to gather together a group/set/amount of things, often of the same sort รสะสม, เก็บรวบรวม
legally – correct according to the law ตามกฎหมาย
illegally – in a way that is against the law อย่างผิดกฎหมาย
shocked – very surprised and upset ตกใจ
assortment – a collection of different things or of different types of the same thing ต่าง ๆ นานา
reptile – any animal that has cold blood and skin covered in scales, and that lays eggs, e.g., snakes, crocodiles, etc. สัตว์เลื้อยคลาน
tip off – to tell someone in advance about something that is going to happen or about something that is supposed to be secret เตือน, บอกให้รู้ล่วงหน้า
frequently – happening often บ่อยๆ
roar – to make a continuous, very loud noise แผดเสียงดัง,ร้องเสียงดังก้อง  
excrement – the solid waste that your body gets rid of อุจจาระ
raid – to use force to suddenly enter a place and arrest people or look for illegal drugs or other illegal items บุกเข้าจับ
located – where something is ตั้งอยู่
plot – a secret plan to do something bad, made by two or more people แผนการณ์
appear – to seem ดูเหมือนจะ, ดูเหมือนว่า
condition – the physical state of a person, animal, thing or place สภาพ
cage – a container made of wire or metal bars and used for keeping birds or animals in กรง
compound – an area in which a group of buildings stands บริเวณ
miniature – much smaller than things of the same kind เล็กมาก, ขนาดเล็ก, จิ๋ว
haul – an usually large amount of something that has been stolen or is illegal or something that has been taken from criminals by the police ของที่ถูกขโมยไปหรือถูกยึดไป
suspected – thought to be something เป็นที่สงสัย
assistant – a person who helps or supports somebody, usually in their job ผู้ช่วย
arrested – caught by the police and taken to a police station because you are believed to have committed a crime ถูกจับกุม
investigator – someone whose job is to officially find out the facts about something – ผู้สอบสวน,  ผู้สำรวจ, ผู้ตรวจสอบ
import – to buy or bring in products from another country นำเข้า
licence – an official document that gives someone permission to do or use something ใบอนุญาต
authorities – the police or people in official organisations who have the legal power to make people obey laws or rules เจ้าหน้าที่ (ตำรวจ หรือผู้มีอำนาจ)
documentation – pieces of paper containing official information; documents used for proving that something is true เอกสารที่ใช้ในการพิสูจน์,  เอกสารที่ใช้ในการอ้างอิง
claim – to say that something is true although it has not been proved and other people may not believe it อ้าง
private – intended for or involving a particular person or group of people, not for people in general ส่วนตัว
possession – having or owning something การครอบครอง
charge – an official statement accusing someone of committing a crime ข้อกล่าวหา
permission – allowing someone to do something การอนุญาต,การอนุมัติ,การยินยอม
maximum – the most possible ที่สูงสุด ที่มากที่สุด
fine – an amount of money that you have to pay because you have broken the law ค่าปรับ
suspect – a person who is thought to have committed a crime ผู้ต้องสงสัย
register – to put your name and other information on an official list in order to be allowed to do something ลงทะเบียน
research – a careful study of a subject, especially in order to discover new facts or information about it การวิจัย
influential – of a person who has the power to affect a situation มีอิทธิพล

Related search: African lions seized in Bangkok, wildlife raid, Montri Boonprom-orn, Khlong Sam Wa

About the author

Writer: Terry Fredrickson
Position: Education Marketing and Support Manager