Narcotics police in Thailand said Tuesday they confiscated six high-priced pedigreed cats as part of a raid on an illegal drug network, and they suspect the animals were part of an effort to launder illicit money.
Police say the cats were confiscated Monday following a raid at a house in Thailand’s Rayong province. An officer told a Bangkok news organization the cats belong to the wife of a suspect police arrested in the raid, but she fled the scene before they arrived. They say she is also a suspect in the case and is wanted by police.
Law enforcement officials — who displayed the cats for news media Tuesday — say the six purebred cats include five of the Scottish Fold breed and one Bengal. They believe the cats could be worth thousands of dollars.
Police seized the house, land, a car and the six cats on suspicion of being assets used to launder money. The officials say the cats are part of those assets and would be entered into a public auction while the case was ongoing.
The case has stirred debate on social media in Thailand whether confiscated pets should be put up for auction.
Animal welfare groups urged authorities to suspend the auction and asked that the cats be taken into the care of animal groups that could help them find loving homes.
Source: Voice Of America (VOA)