Chaos Erupts When 30 Smuggled Animals Break Free Mid-Flight – Woman Faces $31K Fine

By: Lauren | Last updated: Oct 23, 2023

On a recent flight from Bangkok to Taiwan, chaos ensued as several smuggled animals escaped and ran rampant around the plane.

And now, the woman carrying the 30 illegal animals is facing a $31,000 fine for her actions. 

“There’s a Rat on the Plane”

One passenger was on their way to the bathroom on a VietJet flight last week when they suddenly saw a rat scampering around the floor of the plane. 

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Source: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

After returning to their seat, the passenger apparently told their friend in a whisper, “There’s a rat on the plane… a pet rat, it has a white body, and it’s not small.”

The Cabin Crew Didn’t Find the Rat…They Found an Otter

Of course, the concerned passenger told the flight crew that they had seen a large white rat wandering around, and the crew sprung into action, looking for the loose rat. 

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However, during their search, they didn’t immediately find the rat. What they did find was a baby otter running amok under the seats. 

All Hell Breaks Loose

Then things started to get even crazier. Eventually, the flight crew was able to secure the otter, but by this point, every passenger knew there were animals loose in the cabin. 

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The video clip of the wild situation showed almost every passenger up and out of their seats, attempting to see just what was going on. 

The Crew Finally Found the Rat, and One Attendant Got Bit

Through the mayhem, the flight attendants continued to search for the large white rat that the passenger had seen. 

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Source: YouTube

And though they eventually found it, while they were trying to detain it in a bag, one flight attendant was bitten on the hand. 

Whose Animals Are These?

Now, with the animals safely contained, the question on everyone’s mind was the same: Whose animals are these?

Source: YouTube

The crew made an announcement and asked that the owner of the animals step forward and identify themselves, though, for obvious reasons, no one raised their hand. 

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Reports State That Several Bags Were Searched Before One Woman Came Forward

Apparently, the crew started searching seats and bags for evidence that someone had been carrying the animals. 

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Which is when one Chinese passenger allegedly admitted that she had brought the otter and albino rat onto the plane. 

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Lost in Translation

Though it seemed they had the culprit in hand, reports state that as the woman only spoke Chinese, there was still quite a bit of confusion as to whether or not she had actually brought the animals aboard. 

Source: Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Once the plane landed at the Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport, every single carry-on and checked bag was searched by the authorities. 

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The Taiwanese Police Found 30 Smuggled Animals

That’s when the police apparently found a bag on the flight with 20 turtles, a marmot, a snake, two unknown rodents, and two other otters. 

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Of course, now the question was: How on earth did these animals ever make it past security in Bangkok?

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Bangkok Airport Employee Suspended for the Mistake

Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport immediately began looking through the surveillance footage of the passengers on that plane to Taiwan, and has since made a statement explaining what happened:

Source: Paula Bronstein/Getty Images

“We have examined the CCTV and found that the smugglers were two foreigners who had their luggage scanned through an X-ray machine. One of the staff was suspicious, so they assigned another to open the luggage. However, they didn’t check the luggage and allowed the passengers to go through.” The airport also reported that said employee has since been suspended for the mistake. 

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Taiwanese Police Are Still Investigating

The case is certainly far from closed, and the Taiwanese police are attempting to name and find the two smugglers. 

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However, if the Chinese woman on the plane who allegedly admitted to carrying the animals is involved, she could face a one million New Taiwan dollar (or $31,000 USD) fine. 

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Smuggling Animals Is Illegal, but Common

Sadly, airport security in both Bangkok and Taiwan are accustomed to searching for smuggled animals. 

Source: Paula Bronstein/Getty Images

Wildlife smugglers sell the animals in China, Vietnam, or a variety of other countries throughout the continent. Though usually, the smuggled animals don’t break free and roam around the floor of the airplane as they did this time!

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