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Insult the king's dog, go to jail

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I don’t pretend to know what this Thai film, Khun Tongdaeng: The Inspiration, is about, but it’s partly animated, it’s partly anthropomorphic, and it shows Thai King Bhumibol Aduyadej’s pet dog, Tongdaeng (Copper), as a canine superheroine.

Thailand has the strictest laws against lese majeste (insulting the king) in the world, which have been interpreted to prohibit any news criticism of the king’s government. Recently Thanakorn Siripaiboon, a 27-year-old man, was arrested on charges of violating those laws for possibly insulting the king’s dog by posting a “sarcastic” photograph of her on Facebook. The 88-year-old king is in a wheelchair, and in the photo it looks like the happily-panting dog is pulling the wheelchair. Siripaiboon’s lawyer says that the charge is ridiculous for several reasons, including an absurd stretching of the laws against insulting the king.

Here is a trailer for Khun Tongdaeng: The Inspiration. Nothing wrong here; this is approved by the Thai government. The movie, a live-action/animated adaptation of a book about Tongdaeng written by the king, is #2 on Thai box office charts at the moment.

Tongdaeng was a stray rescued by King Bhumibol Aduyadej in the late 1990s, so she must be at least 16 years old today. She doesn’t look it.

Thailand smuggler tries to check a leopard to Dubai

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Flying first class may help you avoid luggage charges, but it doesn't mean you can pack endangered animals in there, as the BBC News reports.

A man flying from Bangkok to Dubai was arrested by undercover police after trying to check in suitcases containing rare juvenile animals: two leopards, two panthers, an Asiatic black bear and two macaque monkeys, all sedated and packed in carefully-crafted containers.

Freeland Foundation director Steven Galster observed the arrest:

It was a very sophisticated smuggling operation. We've never seen one like this before. The guy had a virtual zoo in his suitcases.

Tiger cub found in luggage

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When airport officials in Bangkok decided to X-ray a woman's luggage they were surprised to see a beating heart. It looked like the woman had a cat in her bag but in truth it was an endangered baby tiger. The 2-month-old cub had been drugged and put in her luggage with a number of toy tigers in an attempt to disguise it.

The cub is now in care of the department of national parks, wildlife and plant conservation. The woman, who was bound for Iran, is being interrogated to discover their final destination.

See more: Pictures of the rescued cub at National Geographic

The wonderful tale of Khun Thongdaeng

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The fancies of monarchs often lead to a frenzy of interest by their subjects. King Bhumibol Adulyadej, ruler of Thailand, first introduced his favorite dog, Khun Thongdaeng, as part of his annual birthday speech, counciling his people to be kind to strays. The streets-to-palace pooch was a stray nursed to health by a palace doctor, then given to the king as a gift.
After the king's prostrate surgery, he was seen wearing a polo shirt with a photo of his dog and her puppies, which quickly became the thing to have. A dessert book was written by Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn to give the recipies for the traditional dished the puppies were named after. And now a book, "The Story of Thongdaeng," is flying off the shelves. Written by the king himself to tell the tale of his favorite friend, it's not only a history, but also written as a moral lessons. Proceeds, as with the earlier works, go to a palace founded charity to aid stray dogs.