Three boys en route from Bangkok to Dubai were held with two monkeys of a rare species tucked away in their undergarments at the Delhi airport on Sunday.
Sources in the customs department said the boys, who travelled to Bangkok for a “fun trip”, had decided to smuggle the 'slender loris' monkeys after picking them up from a shop in the Thailand capital.
CISF personnel at the airport noticed something suspicious in the trousers of one of the three boys during checks. “He was taken to a separate room. A small monkey (six-seven inches long and weighing around 150gm), packed in a polythene bag, was found tied in his undergarment,” a custom department official said.
The boy told police that he wanted to have a pet monkey. But as travelling with such monkeys is banned, he decided to smuggle them. “They managed to pass through security at the Bangkok airport. After boarding the flight, one of the boys put the monkeys in his hand baggage. As he was to board a Dubai-bound flight, he went to the washroom and tied one monkey in his undergarment,” the officer added.
Sources said that after one of the boys was held, another attempted to evade detention by throwing the monkey into a dustbin. The monkey was later found.
As the trio did not have Indian visas, they were kept at the airport. The custom department later decided to detain one of the boys for smuggling wild animals and another for helping him. The third boy was let off.
“The monkeys were almost unconscious because they had not been given anything to eat. They were sent to Raja Garden for treatment, where they are recovering fast,” the officer further said.
The sources added that it was the first ever international journey for the boys. They were bringing a dog from Bangkok as cargo. The custom department is planning to hand over the monkeys to a zoo.
The boys may be allowed to travel to Dubai but required to come back to India for legalities.