A Thai woman was arrested this month after she filmed herself devouring a bowl of bat soup.
According to the Daily Mail, Phonchanok Srisunaklua posted the video to her YouTube channel titled “Gin Zap Bep Nua Nua,” which the outlet says translates to “eat spicy and delicious” in English. The one-minute and 40-second clip shows the vlogger sitting in front of a dark-colored soup that contains cherry tomatoes and several Lesser Asiatic yellow bats. Srisunaklua proceeds to pick up one of the dead animals and rip it apart before dipping the meat into a sauce called Nim Jam.
She reportedly told viewers it was her first time eating a bat, and that she purchased the protected species from a market near the Laos border in northern Thailand. The teacher went on to describe the soup as “delicious,” and compared the texture to raw meat.
Pattaraphon Manee-on, the head of the wildlife health management group at the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation, said he was “shocked” by the clip, as eating bats could pose serious health risks.
“Because the incident should not happen both in Thailand and around the world, it is very risky behavior, especially as bats have a lot of pathogens,” the veterinarian explained. “There is no proof that the hot water temperature will actually kill the germs. Just touching the saliva, blood, and the skin is considered a risk. Besides the concern about the disease in bats, this woman could be guilty of breaking the Preservation and Protection and Wildlife Act, B.E. 2019, because bats are protected animals.”
Shortly after the video went viral, Srisunaklua was arrested for “possession of protected wildlife carcasses” and “crimes violating the Computer Crimes Act.” Though she initially denied the accusations, Srisunaklua went on to post a video in which she apologized for her actions and vowed to never eat a bat again.
She is now facing a five-year jail sentence and a $13,800 fine.