A French man who was arrested in Rawai, in the south of Phuket, for the illegal possession of a whale skeleton says he was told it was made of wood. The Phuket Express reports that Thierry Alain was arrested last week after being found in possession of parts of a whale skeleton.
The arrest followed an anonymous tip-off to the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources. Arresting officers seized parts of the lower jaw of a Baleen Whale from the 52 year old French national. Mr Alain has admitted the parts belonged to him but insists the person who sold them to him told him they were made from wood.
While being questioned at Chalong Police Station, Alain told officers that he purchased the whale skeleton parts at a market near Chalong, where he was told the parts were wood. He says he used them as decorations in his home, without knowing they were actually parts of a whale skeleton.
Investigating officers are now attempting to find the vendor, after using a technique known as the Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy to confirm the skeleton parts were from the lower jaw of a Baleen Whale, also known as whalebone whales.
It’s not known if police believe the French man’s story or if the charges he faces under the Wild Animals Protection Act will be dropped.
SOURCE: The Phuket Express