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Elephant camp operator charged over tourist’s death

CHON BURI: An elephant camp owner and a mahout were charged with recklessness causing death and injuries yesterday after an elephant killed a Chinese tour guide and injured two tourists there, near Pattaya, on Thursday evening (Dec 21).

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By Bangkok Post

Saturday 23 December 2017, 08:51AM


Plai Uthen, the 17-year-old male elephant that killed a Chinese tour guide and injured two tourists, was being kept chained and well away from visitors at the elephant camp in Bang Lamung, near Pattaya, on Friday. The tragedy reportedly happened after a tourist pulled his tail. He will be retired. Photo: Chaiyot Pupattanapong

Plai Uthen, the 17-year-old male elephant that killed a Chinese tour guide and injured two tourists, was being kept chained and well away from visitors at the elephant camp in Bang Lamung, near Pattaya, on Friday. The tragedy reportedly happened after a tourist pulled his tail. He will be retired. Photo: Chaiyot Pupattanapong

Prasert Thawee-apiradeeboonsueb, owner of the Sam Liam Thong Kham elephant camp, and Au Bamrung acknowledged the charges at Huai Yai Police Station. The camp is in Tambon Huai Yai of Bang Lamung District.

They were released after being questioned.

Rangsan Panawatanakul, manager of the elephant camp, said on Friday the elephant ride service had been suspended pending the construction of fences to keep wandering visitors away from the paths they use. It would take about a week.

He expressed his condolences to the victims, and said if a visitor had not annoyed the elephant, it would not have attacked anyone. There had never been such an incident there before.

It was reported earlier the elephant, a 17-year-old bull named Plai Uthen, charged into the crowd after a watching tourist yanked his tail.

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Mr Rangsan also said the elephant camp would pay for the treatment of the two injured tourists who were riding on the elephant, and offer compensation to the relatives of the dead tour guide, in addition to the B1-million insurance payout.

Plai Uthen would also be retired from giving rides, for good.

Bang Lamung District Chief Naris Niramaiwong on Friday visited injured Chinese tourist Tanli Lai, 54, who was treated for a punctured rib and lung at Bangkok Hospital Pattaya. He handed initial assistance of B20,000 to Mr Tanli and said he would give compensation to the relatives of the dead guide.

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Ronald S | 23 December 2017 - 12:20:25

Elephant riding is an extreme maltreatment to any elephant and should be stopped. And a stupid tourist pulling the tail of an elephant deserves punishment..... however very sad he died, but that's the risk when you are to stupid.

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