A Thai woman was sentenced to five years in prison after filming a now-viral video of herself eating an entire bat.
The video was posted on Phonchanok Srisunaklua’s Facebook page, ‘Kin Saeb Nua Nua’ (Eating it Delicious and Hot), which has over 390,000 followers.
Srisunaklua is seen in the video picking a bat from a bowl where other dead animals are floating in tomato soup while referring to herself as Khru (teacher) Jui.
She reportedly told viewers that it was her first time eating a bat and that she got the protected species from a market in northern Thailand near the Laos border. The teacher went on to call the soup “delicious,” comparing its texture to raw meat.
She stretches the bat’s wings, breaking it apart and devouring it. She described how the bat’s skin was sticky and its nails smelled like rats.
She says, “It has teeth,” and then she points a full bat at the camera, stating, “The bones are soft.” She then starts to crunch on the bones and continues, “The bones are soft.”
Internet users who expressed concern about the video’s negative effects on their health expressed their outrage at Srisunaklua’s behavior.
However, on Monday, Srisunaklua updated her post to say that she was “still alive” and that the video had been taken two days earlier.
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.”
According to local media, the blogger originally denied the accusations made against her but afterward uploaded a video apology to “society, doctors, journalists, colleagues, family, and friends,” claiming that she was “not thinking,” before retracting her denials.
She now faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison and/or a fine of 500,000 baht (about Ksh.1.7 million) for possessing dead animals that are protected by law and for breaking the Computer Crimes Act (2007).