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An Aquarium Fish that People Kill

An Aquarium Fish that People Kill

Gold Silver Reports – Chan Ah Chai owned an aquarium shop in Taiping, Malaysia. The shop was managed by him and his son, Chan Kok Kuan. On May 11, 2004, Chai grew anxious as his son failed to return home from the shop on time. It was 4 am, and it had been raining heavily. Later in the morning, when the rain cleared Chai went to the shop.

The padlock was missing. There was shattered glass everywhere. And at the end of a trail of blood was the corpse of his son, his throat so badly cut that the boy was nearly decapitated. There were no fingerprints. No clues. No money was stolen. But twenty dragon fish were gone from their tanks.

An Aquarium Fish that People Kill

The Asian arowana is the world’s most expensive aquarium fish, a throwback to the age of the dinosaurs. “It has large, metallic scales, like coins; whiskers that jut from its chin; and it undulates like the paper dragons you see in a Chinese New Year’s parade. That resemblance has spawned the belief that the fish brings good luck and prosperity, which is why it has become a highly sought-after aquarium fish,“ says Emily Voigt, the author of The Dragon Behind the Glass, a book on the most sought after aquarium fish in the world. A single dragon fish can retail for as high as $150,000.

The dragon fish is practically extinct in the wild. But it is also mass produced, grown on farms that resemble high security prisons, complete with barbed wire and prowling Rottweiler watchdogs.

Voigt’s search for the dragon fish leads her to some very strange places, including a Bronx apartment where a man had an alligator tied to the foot of his bed. She also finds that the obsession with the dragon fish spread from China and Southeast Asia, to the US, where a Wall Street banker, who was arrested for possession, broke down crying because he couldn’t resist its dark-alley appeal.

There are tales of the ridiculous extents people go to trying to smuggle the fish into the US, in spare tyre wells of their cars, in plastic bags under the skirt, just to make a quick buck off a fish. — Neal Bhai Reports

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