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Man caught laden with rare animals at Thai airport
11 February
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Bangkok: Dozens of snakes, boxes of spiders and one of the world's rarest tortoises were among hundreds of live animals found in a man's airport luggage after a shopping spree at a Bangkok market.

Rivo Cahyono, a 34-year-old from Indonesia, was arrested trying to board a flight from the Thai capital when X-rays showed the creatures stuffed inside three suitcases, said the National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation department.

Special compartments in the man's bags contained 88 Indian Star tortoises, a protected species, 33 Elongated tortoises and one Ploughshare the world's rarest type of tortoise, Wildlife trade group Traffic said.

Among the many snakes found were two Boa Constrictors and 34 Ball Pythons, while 18 Baboon Spiders, packed individually in plastic containers, squirrels, lizards and an African Grey Parrot were also discovered.

The Thai official who made the arrest said Cahyono told authorities he had bought all the animals from Bangkok's Chatuchak Market.

Cahyono was about to board an Air Asia flight to Surabaya in Indonesia when animals were discovered in one of his bags, the airline then unloaded two suitcases already on the plane and the extent of the haul was revealed.

He was charged with illegal possession and wildlife smuggling and faces a maximum of four years in prison and a fine up to 40,000 baht ($1,300).

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