Inside remote village sending thousands of dried GECKOS to China for two decades
Gruesome footage show how thousands of geckos are killed and stretched with with Bulldog clips before being shipped to China to be eaten. The bizarre dish was being produced in vast numbers for more than 20 years in a remote village in Nakhon Phanom, northeast Thailand. Workers there collected the blue and orange tokay geckos, killed and gutted them before stretching their bodies with metal binder clips and drying them in the sun. Locals made a comfortable living - around four times the national minimum wage - exporting containers full of the dead reptiles by truck across the border into China where they would be sold at markets. However, residents involved in the gecko trade said last week that business had been decimated by the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus. They complained to local media in Thailand that they fear the trade could be finished unless the situation improves. Sub-district deputy governor Yongyuth Patha, 56, said there had been high demand from mainland China for more than 20 years. He said: ''Our main specialty is gecko, which we send to China. But we also send leeches in rainy season, dried earthworm in winter and then gecko in summer. ''This makes money all year round. Right now gecko is in season. Normally they would be popular but this time nobody is ordering them.'' Yongyuth, who himself runs a business legally exporting dried geckos, said the creatures are caught from different regions of Thailand then sent to his village. Once the shipments arrive, locals slit the stomachs of the reptiles and pull out their innards. They then stretch the body using pieces of bamboo and metal paper binders before leaving them out to dry in the sun, as temperatures soar past 30C. Once the dead lizards have been out in the sun for a day, they are packaged in boxes and sent to China. Yongyuth said that sometimes live lizards are also delivered to Vietnam. He added: "Exporting the lizards generates very good income for the villagers. One household can normally earn 50,000THB (1,219GBP) per month processing these foods. "However, after the coronavirus outbreak, China had decided to stop their orders and now the locals are having a hard as they also cannot do farming because to the drought."