Unemployed Bangkok chef arrested after alleged attempt to sell rare butterflies to undercover agents

An unemployed Thai chef has been arrested in a shopping mall in the capital for allegedly trying to sell 8 preserved butterflies, all extremely rare species, to undercover agents of the Department of National Parks, Department of Fauna and Flora.

The unidentified 29-year-old unemployed chef, who previously worked at a Japanese restaurant at a hotel on Sukhumvit Road, is said to have told officials the butterflies were his and were decorated on the walls of the Japanese restaurant.

Navee Changphirom, head of the department’s conservation department, said his officers had found an ad on Facebook selling rare butterflies.

The officials contacted the butterfly dealer and said they would inspect the insects before purchasing them. They agreed to meet at a shopping mall in Bangkok.

The man arrived at the mall reportedly carrying a box full of his framed butterflies. Police then arrested the unemployed chef after deciding that the butterflies belonged to several rare species. The butterflies include:

3 butterflies of the species Stichophthalma louisa.

1 of the Stichophthalma godfreyi genus.

1 the Meandrusa Payeni species, also known as the yellow gorgon.

1 of the Teinopalpus imperialis genus, also known as the Kaiser-i-Hind.

1 of the Actias rhodopneuma species, also known as the pink ghost moth.

1 of the Actias maenas, also known as the Malaysian moon moth.

The 8 butterflies are valued at about 17,400 baht. Navee says the man is being charged with illegally owning rare species and advertising their sale, and trading rare species without a license. He faces more than 15 years in prison and more than a million baht in fines if convicted on all charges.

He was later handed over to the Natural Resources and Environmental Crime Division for further legal proceedings. The 8 butterflies have been confiscated as evidence.

Your news bear read in one butterfly magazine that the Teinopalpus imperialis butterfly is a highly sought after butterfly among suffocated collectors.

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