Thai police to charge two over pet lion spotted cruising in Bentley

Thai police to charge two over pet lion spotted cruising in Bentley
Screengrab from video showing chained lion cub seated in the back of a white, open-top Bentley.Ann Isaanrussia

Police in Thailand have arrested a woman whose pet lion was pictured going on a joyride in the streets of Pattaya.

A video that has now gone viral shows the chained lion cub seated in the back of a white, open-top Bentley.

The lion was being driven about by a Sri Lankan man who has since left the country, and is believed to be a friend of the woman Sawangjit Kosoongnern.

While it is not illegal to own a lion in Thailand, it needs to be officially registered.

Authorities in Thailand said Sawangjit claimed to have bought the animal from a Thai man in Nakhon Pathom province, who successfully facilitated its delivery to Pattaya.

However he failed to have his facility checked by officials before doing so, which made both the transfer and ownership of the animal illegal.

She is therefore facing charges of possessing a controlled wild animal without permission, which carries a penalty of a year’s imprisonment and a fine of up to 100,000 baht ($2,800; £2,200).

Police were also reportedly looking to charge the Sri Lankan man, who had kept the lion in his rented pool villa, but were unable to as he is no longer in Thailand. He was due to be charged with bringing a controlled wild animal into public places, which carries jail time of up to six months and a fine of 50,000 baht.

The man who sold the lion to Sawangjit will also face charges of moving an animal without permission.

Officials say there are currently 224 lions in Thailand that are legally owned.

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Source: bbc.co.uk

By David Ryckman