Video: Airport smuggler busted with 'virtual zoo' in his luggage

A man has been arrested at Bangkok airport with suitcases full of baby leopards, panthers, monkeys and a bear.

The man was waiting to check in at Suvarnabhumi International Airport for a flight to Dubai when he was apprehended by undercover anti-trafficking officers, who'd been monitoring him since he made the black market purchase of the animals.

The 36-year-old has not been identified, only that he was a citizen of the United Arab Emirates.

Officers found two leopards, two panthers, two macaque monkeys and an Asiatic black bear in his luggage.

The animals, all about the size of puppies, had been drugged and placed in flat cages or canisters with air holes.

Steven Galster, director of anti-trafficking group FREELAND Foundation, told the Associated Press: 'It was a very sophisticated smuggling operation. We've never seen one like this before.

'The guy had a virtual zoo in his suitcases.'

Leopards and panthers can go for around $5,000 on the black market in Thailand, but it is thought the man was hoping to get more in Dubai.

In an AP video, Galster added: 'He was not a normal smuggler.

'He was checked into first class, seems to have some special connections and has already been released on bail.'

Thailand is a popular location for wildlife smuggling, but typically it involves tortoises, rare turtles, snakes and lizards bound for Vietnam and China.

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