Viral Video Leads to Arrest in Thailand: Woman Detained for Parading Pet Lion Cub in Luxury Convertible

Written by Henrik Rothen

Jan.25 - 2024 2:37 PM CET

Foto: Youtube
Foto: Youtube
Woman Detained for Parading Pet Lion Cub in Luxury Convertible.

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In Thailand, a woman, Sawangjit Kosoongnern, faces legal consequences for taking her pet lion for a ride in a luxury car through Pattaya's streets. The incident came to light after a viral video captured the lion cub, chained and seated in the back of a white Bentley convertible, driven by a Sri Lankan man, reportedly a friend of Sawangjit, who has since departed Thailand according to BBC.

While Thai law permits lion ownership, mandatory registration of such animals was not adhered to in this case. Sawangjit reportedly acquired the lion from a man in Nakhon Pathom province, who managed the delivery to Pattaya without having his facility inspected by authorities. This oversight rendered the transfer and subsequent ownership of the lion illegal.

Consequently, Sawangjit is now charged with unauthorized possession of a controlled wild animal, facing up to one year in prison and a fine of up to 100,000 baht ($2,800)

The Sri Lankan driver, who kept the lion at his rented pool villa, also faces potential charges for bringing the animal into public places, which could result in a six-month jail sentence and a fine of 50,000 baht. However, his current absence from Thailand has complicated the legal process.

Additionally, the individual who sold the lion faces charges for the unauthorized transfer of the animal.

Thai officials have confirmed that there are currently 224 legally owned lions within the country, underscoring the importance of compliance with wildlife ownership regulations.