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Not everyone is smiling: Phuket's Soi Bangla early today

Animal Acts in Party Town: Photo Special

Saturday, July 13, 2013
PHUKET: Large numbers of slow lorises and iguanas are still to be found being touted to tourists in Phuket's party town of Patong, a check by Phuketwan has found.

Photo touts, abusing protected animals for private profit, were untroubled by police in Patong last night and early today.

Reporters counted 10 slow lorises and at least five iguanas over the space of a few hours in Soi Bangla, the tourist walking street in the west coast nightlife hub.

Although animal rights campaigners are working to make people aware that the animals are being mistreated, many tourists still stop and pay to be photographed with ugly (iguana) or cute (loris) creatures on their arms.

Disturbing reports from a reliable source have also come lately of an attempt to sell a small gibbon in a hessian bag for 25,000 baht in one of the lanes of bars running off Bangla Road.

Early today, the tourist touts were offering to pose their cute or ugly creatures on the arms of Thai tourists for 100 baht or 200 baht for non-Thais.

There was no shortage of takers. As the night wore on, the price dropped to 50 baht.

Regular raids by Patong police and National Parks officials, sometimes capturing more than 10 touts with animals at a time, have failed to stop the trade.

Well-informed tourists know the photo touts are breaking the law but scores of others see it as just more Patong fun.

Animal rights activists say the penalties for being caught with protected animals are too small and that the only way the lorises and iguanas will disappear from Phuket's streets is if heavier penalties are imposed.

At present, the maximum fine is 2000 baht.

Confiscated lorises are usually returned to their native habitat in a national park in Phang Nga, the province north of Phuket.

It's suspected that poachers simply capture more there to replace the ones that are siezed by the authorities.

Many of the lorises are said to die from the stress of being handled and lack of proper care.

People who spot lorises on Phuket's streets are advised to contact authorities at either of the following online addresses:

http://www.dnp.go.th/complain/index.asp

http://www.tinyurl.com/gibbonreport

Comments

Comments have been disabled for this article.

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What the hell. I thought this had been sorted. Its not like there aren't enough police in Bangla. If a reporter can spot 10, authorties can't even spot 1? Is there a phone number to publish so we can do our duty and rat them out there and then? Yes 2000 baht is too small, but 2000 baht everyday will make them think its not worth it anymore.

Posted by andy on July 13, 2013 09:43

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The fact is: a lot of us know this, and I'm sure that I am not the only one who informed authorities, only to fall on deaf ears. My opinion is: if there is a tout with an animal in the streets, the police knows it. The authorities know it. And they all know it is a wrong thing to do. But they receive their bribes on time, so their eyes are shut. Even a lot of tourists know it is wrong. But we are living in a world where a picture on Facebook is more important than common sense. And I hope I'm completely wrong now, but I am afraid, with this kind of attitude from both sides, authorities AND tourists, this will never change, or be solved.

Posted by Charles on July 13, 2013 09:59

Editor Comment:

Now you're sharing the opinion of the loris touts, David, who keep coming back because, like you, they believe nothing will change. It's not enough to say ''I hope I'm completely wrong . . .'' That's pathetic.

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Yes I agree that animals are being used to make money convincing gullible tourists to have photos taken with them as I have witnessed, day and night with not a cop in sight. Maybe there are stooges placed strategically to keep a look out for the constabulary. Recently I took a visitor friend of mine to Soi Bangla in the early afternoon and then later that night. Some men carried very large goannas and other small, and very small, furry creatures. Why don't the police send undercover people down to arrest the offenders?

Posted by seht1912 on July 13, 2013 10:08

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"Now you're sharing the opinion of the loris touts, David, who keep coming back because, like you, they believe nothing will change".

And they would be correct.

Posted by sir burr on July 13, 2013 10:22

Editor Comment:

Another mindless contribution of the kind you've been delivering on Thai Visa for years. It has always been the avowed policy of this site to take on the doomsayers, sir burr. They are people of low opinions or no opinions. Their attitudes are a barnacle on Phuket's bum - an impediment to progress. If you have nothing positive add, no ideas, no new information, I'll take it that you're a barnacle.

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There are several plain clothes police officers on Bangla every night. If you don't know from experience who they are, look for Thai men sitting at roadside bars drinking coffee.

When you learn to spot them, it becomes painfully obvious that these touts operate right in front of the police and no action whatsoever is taken.

One can only speculate why.

Posted by ThaiMike on July 13, 2013 10:32

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at ED: you know what is being pathetic? Calling yourself a reporter, opening a comment section for your site, and than, not even get the name right of the readers.. I am not David. I am Charles

Posted by Charles on July 13, 2013 10:38

Editor Comment:

Well, at least we got that straight. I must have thought you'd probably prefer to be David.

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Ed, I must admit, I admire you. Your irrepressible optimism, even though you get knocked on you arse (figuratively) every time by reality. Yet, you pick yourself up, dust yourself off and continue to tilt at windmills which is endlessly amusing.

PS. Do you have a fixation on the name David today? My original post did not contain the name David, yet, there it is......

Posted by sir burr on July 13, 2013 10:56

Editor Comment:

David Day it is, then. I hope it's not going to be a David week.

I'm not sure why people choose to be no-hopers, sir burr. There's a direct historical connection between the proponents of flat earth (''round? you must be joking. No hope'') the man will never get to the moon mob (''a rocket? Neil Armstrong? No hope'') and the Phuket doomsayers (''Phuket is going to change? For the better? No hope.'') Time is running out for them.

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maybe Phuketwan could pony up 2000 baht and take pictures of the touts, or organize a group to do so. Post the photos here and send them to police and WWF.

Posted by bill on July 13, 2013 10:58

Editor Comment:

We're advocates, not activists. When freeloading readers start sending us cash, don't worry, we'll find useful things to do with it. (And belated thanks, Graham. Your 20 baht remains in safe hands.)

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I have to say, Ed, that you certainly know how to talk your way out of a situation. I believe that, if someone would say that you have a small manhood, you would say that the woman has a big mouth.

Posted by Charles on July 13, 2013 12:04

Editor Comment:

Even your jokes are in poor taste - well below average, Average Charles.

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Your analogy is incorrect.

Optimists like you remind me of the alchemists that sort to turn base metals into gold. The perpetual motion machine and the quest for the elixir of life.

You really need to drop the Flat Earth analogy. The ancients knew that the earth was round. Eratosthenes in 5th century BC calculated the circumference of the earth and all ancient sea-farers knew it was round as they saw the masts of ships before the hulls when it came over the horizon.

If the pessimists are so wrong, please describe something that you optimists have got right.

PS. Very unfair to call us "free-loaders". I for one wouldn't mind paying a subscription. PW is the best news source on the island and as an added bonus has the comics at the end of every article. You being the chief attraction.

Posted by sir burr on July 13, 2013 12:16

Editor Comment:

You seem to be overlooking the Internet (''It's just a fad. People will always buy newspapers'') the mobile telephone (''Carry it with you? You must be joking'') and the cure for cancer ( Watch this space.) Phuket's optimists are still engaged in the process of converting non-believers. Once the pessimists see the light and join the growing multitude, change becomes inevitable. With you on the same side as the rip-off merchants and the corrupt officials, the process will inevitably take a little longer.

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Obviously the authorities don't care.

This along with the jetski scams, tuktuks, etc, etc. If they wanted to change the situation it would be changed immediately.

All this stuff has been going on for years and will continue to go on for years to come. This is Phuket, the authorities really don't care.

Posted by BigP on July 13, 2013 12:24

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The only thing below average is your way of dealing with comments here. Not only my comments, but almost everybody that has something to say, that is not in line with what you are thinking. I am here in this country since January 1994, and I am sure that I am not the only long term expat here. And what we see, is what we have to believe. Not just some reporter thatt thinks he can or will change the world with putting some stories down. Don't you think that we would like to see these animals back in the wild? Do you believe that we enjoy the fact that this island is in the news all the time for the wrong reasons? And, in fact, I have taken steps to try to do something about this matter,with 4 more people, and we were laughed at in our face, and told we are wasting our time by a so called authorized person. And I have taken steps to try to do something about other obvious criminal behavior, only to be told to back off, or else. Keep dreaming of a better Phuket, Alan , keep dreaming.

Posted by Charles on July 13, 2013 12:29

Editor Comment:

You give up so easily, Charles. Once in all those years isn't good enough. Try a little harder.

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Ed: did I mention that I only approached authorities once? You are assuming things, and may I say, wrongly assuming things. I have approached the police, and other authorities many times for this case. I have informed police and the food and drug administration about drug prophilia being dealt in cx pharmacy near the monument, only to see it continue to flourish. And I even have been involved in approaching people from the Phuket complaint office( damrungtam ), in regards jet ski scandals. All ended up in deaf mans world, or should I say, blind and deaf mans world?

Posted by Charles on July 13, 2013 13:54

Editor Comment:

And now, instead of encouraging others to try, you say, ''It won't work, you are wasting your time. I failed. Why would anyone else ever succeed?''
Surely you can see how lame that is, Charles.

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The optimists opinions can also slow down the beginning of changes to become inevitable. Pessimism is not always something negative. It give a extra kick for matters to begin change, also for something better. To avoid misunderstanding. maybe I have to mention that I am not a pessimist people.

Posted by Fabe on July 13, 2013 15:53

Editor Comment:

We'd prefer not to have people pigeonholed into one category or the other but to have all commenters add something to the conversation. Saying ''Nothing is going to change'' adds nothing to the conversation. Explaining previous attempts at change and why they failed is acceptable. Negativism for the sake of it is not.
Throughout history, people say ''Nothing is going to change'' or ''It can't be done.'' Then a revolution succeeds and Everest is climbed.

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Andy, these hard working, honest and intelligent police do seem to have bad eyesight, these same people can not find ping pong shows, scamming taxi/ tuk tuk drivers or scamming jet ski operators, so please be a little kind to the visually and at times intellectually handicapped.

Posted by Phuket_IOC on July 13, 2013 16:42

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The law should be changed to a minimum of 50,000Baht if caught asking for money by showing any protected animal. Sadly corruption is rife. Very sad as I think it just makes the educated tourists think badly of Thailand when there is a great deal of good here. Thai authorities want to attract high class high spenders! If I came here being an animal lover I would think this is a barbaric country. I do eat meat but hope the animal is killed quickly with little or no pain, not a life of misery until a slow death from malnutrition like these lorises etc. Being a Buddhist country most Thai's respect animals I am glad to say with the friendly dogs almost every where which makes me very happy but if you can earn 2000-3000 a night with no financial overheads it is too tempting for some. If you have no morals you have nothing.

Posted by Fiesty Farang on July 13, 2013 17:03

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"A barnacle on Phuket's bum."? Surely you mean a monstrous carbuncle...

Posted by Sam W on July 13, 2013 17:23

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@ ED: do you know the meaning of the word lame? I have a family here with 3 children and a wife. When some people told me, in person, that it would be better for me, and for my family, to stop harassing the businesses of the monopolies here ( not mafia ), what do you expect me to do? Continue, with risking all the consequences? Now, that would be lame, to put my family in danger, for something, that not a lot of people have control over. Obviously, ED, you still think that you can go up there and change these people's mind, so they would walk the right path. Well, let us meet in person, and if you don't know what I'm talking about, I will be more than happy to introduce you to a few characters. You're a person that believes in the good. Like most of us. Unfortunately, you are also a person that doesn't seem to understand that reality is sometimes quiet different in other places on the globe.

Posted by Charles on July 13, 2013 17:33

Editor Comment:

Your opinions may spring from your own experiences but they are not shared by all expats. Thais are also not so similar in outlook that you or anyone else can tell what ''the average Thai'' is thinking. Our objective is to make Phuket a better place by changing the system, and it probably won't be helped by meeting ''a few characters.'' We have met plenty. With three children, it's probably about time you supported change for the better instead of giving up.

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How many baht to take a picture of a animal tout behind bars at phuket prison
maybe Ed knows

Posted by slickmelb on July 13, 2013 19:15

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I walked up to a Policeman recently and disturbed him, because he was taking "fun" photos with Tourists. I told him about the animals and he just said, yes ok, then I watched him for a while. All he did was take more photos with the tourists.

Posted by Tbs on July 13, 2013 19:16

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This editor is extremely annoying and clearly a bit long in the tooth as he keeps mixing up, or making up names

Posted by ian on July 14, 2013 07:58

Editor Comment:

Your unwarranted and ageist attack says more about you than me. If you don't have anything to say about the important issue in the article, don't bother.

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Why not start a fb site were photos of these illegal traders can be posted. Should get authorities to notice!

Posted by Ran on July 16, 2013 15:21


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