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Woman Arrested for Pet Lion Joyride in Pattaya

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Woman Arrested for Pet Lion Joyride in Pattaya

(CTN News) – Police in Thailand have arrested a woman whose pet lion was seen riding around in Pattaya’s streets.

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

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

It is not illegal to own a lion in Thailand, but it must be legally registered.

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Thai authorities said that Ms Sawangjit acquired the animal from a Thai guy in Nakhon Pathom province, who successfully delivered it to Pattaya.

However, he failed to have his facility inspected by officials before doing so, rendering the transfer and possession of the animal illegal.

She is consequently facing charges of possessing a controlled wild animal without a licence, which carries a punishment of one year in prison and a fine of up to 100,000 baht ($2,800; £2,200).

Police were also apparently looking to charge the Sri Lankan man who had kept the lion in his rented pool villa, but were unable to do so because he no longer resides in Thailand.

He was to be prosecuted for introducing a regulated wild animal into public spaces, a crime punishable by up to six months in prison and a 50,000 baht fine.

The man who sold the lion to Ms Sawangjit will also face charges for transferring an animal without authority.

Officials claim Thailand currently has 224 legally owned lions.

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