Tiny fish with patriotic stripes sold for more than S$2,000 in Thailand

A Siamese fighting fish known locally as Pla-Kad (Betta splendens) with the red, white and blue stripes of the Thai flag in Bangkok.
A Siamese fighting fish known locally as Pla-Kad (Betta splendens) with the red, white and blue stripes of the Thai flag in Bangkok. PHOTO: AFP / CHUCHAT LEKDEANGYU

BANGKOK (AFP) - A Siamese fighting fish sporting the red, white and blue stripes of the Thai flag has been sold for 53,500 baht (S$2,143) - a massive price tag for the tiny, inch-long pet.

The vibrantly-coloured species, also known as Betta fish, can go for as little as US$5 (S$7) in Thailand, where the species is native.

But highest bidder Chuchat Lekdeangyu said he could not back down from the online price war after seeing the fish's iridescent, patriotic pattern.

"There have been other fighting fish that resemble the national flag before but none with as clear colours as him," said the 44-year-old freelance photographer and fish enthusiast.

He joined the auction when the fish was priced at 13,000 baht and fought off rival buyers to take it home for 53,500 baht on Nov 9.

"It is a lot of money for me but I think it is worth it," he told AFP, adding that he has named the three-month old fish "Tri-colour" in Thai.

He plans to snap photos of the pet and keep it in its own tank to avoid the territorial death-matches the species is famed for.

"I want to show the world that Thailand can breed a beautiful fish. This one belongs to all Thais," he said.