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Thai eagle seller arrested

Published on 16/11/2004

13 November 2004

BRUSSELS – The Thai eagle seller who prompted an Avian flu alert in Belgium in October has been arrested.

Poonsak Harnkittipongpaisal was detained by Thai police officers on his return to Bangkok international airport, Le Soir reported on Tuesday.

He has been charged with the export of endangered species, said lieutenant colonel Sakchai Thamawichai.

Poonsak, who immediately admitted his guilt, could face four years in prison and a EUR 772 fine if he is condemned.

He said he had bought the two eagles in the Chattachuk market with the intention of giving them to his brother who owns a Thai restaurant in Belgium.

The Chattachuk market takes place at the weekend and is renowned for cut-price goods, which include animals protected by international conventions.

On 18 October, Belgian police discovered the illegally imported birds in Poonsak’s luggage.

On 22 October the birds were found to be carrying the deadly Avian flu virus which has already killed 12 people in Asia this year.

Poonsak had not been infected by the virus but the discovery of the birds sparked a minor public health scare in Belgium.

[Copyright Expatica 2004]

Subject: Belgian news