Bangkok restaurant dished up protected wildlife

A chopped up cobra ready for cooking and serving to customers at the Luang To To restaurant in Wang Thong Lang raided by police on Wednesday. (Photo taken from a NBT news clip on Youtube)

Police have raided a restaurant in Bangkok serving exotic dishes prepared from protected animals, including turtles and snakes, and arrested seven people.

Two dishes of chopped cobra, ready for cooking, were on a table when police entered the Luang To To restaurant in Wang Thong Lang area on Wednesday.  Down a path behind the restaurant, police found a butchery, where animals were killed and prepared for cooking.

A search also found nine containers of home-made liqueur with snake head ingredients, the carcass of a pangolin and four wells containing 21 Thai soft-shelled turtles, one Yellow Headed Temple turtle, four ngu sing (rat snakes) and one cobra, Tourist Police Division deputy chief Atchayon Kraithong told Khaosod newspaper.

They were all believed destined for the pot, to be served to diners.

Ngu sing (Ptyas korros) is a protected snake. Cobras are not, “but caging them is considered illegal”, Pol Col Atchayon said. The turtles are protected.

Chamu Sae-Yi, a 66-year-old Chiang Rai resident, was the hired supervisor of the restaurant, Pol Col Atchayon said. He had six Myanmar staff. All seven were detained.

The shop had been open for nearly eight years, Mr Chamu told police. Most of the customers were Chinese tourists.

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