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Madeline Tanner,  bitten near her eye by a Patong tout's monkey

Phuket Tourist's Tout Monkey Bite Sparks Rabies Alert

Friday, October 5, 2012
PHUKET: A small monkey that bit an Australian tourist's five-year-old daughter today has sparked a rabies scare on Phuket.

While rabies is said to be unknown on the holiday island, there is no certainty about where the monkey originated.

The creature - possibly a gibbon - was being misused illegally by a photo tout in Patong when it bit Madeline Tanner high on the right cheek this afternoon.

Madeline's parents, Jenny and Craig, took their daughter to Patong Hospital for the first of a series of rabies injections.

Tonight the Deputy Superintendent of Patong's Kathu Police Station, Colonel Kittipong Kaikeaw, began a hunt for the monkey.

At the Kathu Police Station, where the family filed a report this evening, Madeline's mother said: ''We were walking through the OTOP bars this afternoon [on Patong's Rat-U-Tit 200 Pi Road] and we saw a monkey in a nappy and a dress.

''My three year old, Gabrielle, was on my back and the man pushed the monkey onto my shoulder. Then the monkey was pushed at Madeline and she got bitten.

''It was only a little nip but it came awfully fast and very close to her eye,'' Jenny Melrose-Tanner said. ''Now my daughter will need five or six followup rabies injections.

''Madeline loves animals and wants to be a vet when she grows up. But she was very distressed.''

Wal Brown, an International Liason Volunteer at Kathu Police Station, said volunteers had noted seven monkeys being offered by touts in Patong's famous walking street, Soi Bangla, on one night recently.

Just last night, national parks officials confiscated five protected slow moving lorises that were also being used illegally as photo props by touts in Soi Bangla.

The father of the girls, Craig Tanner, said the incident was worrying and had taken the fun out of the family's holiday.

The Tanners head back to the Sunshine Coast in Australia in two days after their week-long break on Phuket.

Awat Nitikul, chief of the Environmental Conservation Unit at the Khao Phra Thaew wildlife sanctuary in Thalang, has said people who sight lorises and gibbons in Patong or elsewhere on Phuket should contact him directly on 086-6897040.


Comments have been disabled for this article.


Whilst some of us who work & live abroad are vaccinated against rabies, most tourists are not. This puts a whole different slant on the mis-use of animals by these touts in Soi Bangla. I doubt anyone ever thought such could be life threatening.

Posted by Logic on October 5, 2012 22:51


ouch those rabie injections are nasty pity the poor girl they are very painful, also pity the poor gibbon was not meant to be in the Jungles of Patong

Posted by michael on October 6, 2012 01:59


well...I'm betting that this will be the end of the animal this incident crossed the line

Posted by Sky on October 6, 2012 06:39


It cannot be to hard for the authorities to stamp this practice out very quickly, if they wanted to!

Posted by coxo on October 6, 2012 06:57


Bad parenting

First, to not realise the monkey is a victim and that it's against the law and common sense to use any animal like this, let alone a protected species. Then, to let the monkey near your kids? Sure he says they were "pushed" onto them, but that is of course BS.

Posted by christian on October 6, 2012 07:49

Editor Comment:

Christian, you are once again trying to make yourself the centre of attention with a comment that is not only derogatory but inaccurate, untrue, insulting and objectionable. Goodbye.


How do tourists not know to take photos with touts on Soi Bangla? Tourism industry needs to provide up front facts or possibly people wanting to travel should read and research before flying to 'idyllic' destinations.

Posted by E on October 6, 2012 08:47


On our first trip to Phuket and not kowing any better we let our son and daughter get there photo with a small monkey and my son got bitten on the finger. we went to the doctor and all he did was disinfect it and sent us on our way.

Posted by pete on October 6, 2012 10:57


Christian the monkey should not have been here. Clearly could not read English and did not have a chaperone who could.

E if you read the article this poor little girl was not posing for a picture but had the creature thrust apon her. Educating tourists is attacking the wrong end of the animal.

I don't often agree with her but this quote from Ayn Rand seems apropos: "when you see that money is flowing to
those who deal not in goods, but in favors; when you see that men get rich more easily by graft than by work, and your laws no longer protect you against them, but protect them against you, you may know that your society is doomed."

Posted by Martin on October 6, 2012 11:11


@Martin: I never thought I'd read any quote from Ayn Rand here!

Posted by Buster on October 6, 2012 16:42


I googled Slow Loris & was quite horrified at how dangerous these little innocent looking creatures really are. A bite is very poisonous, but they also have poisonous glands on their body. Of course, if left alone in their own habitat, they pose no risk to anyone.

One big problem is the significant cultural differences between western & Asian tourists. The Chinese have a whole different philosophy towards animals & what we deem right & wrong. The touts will quickly latch onto the Chinese view & unless the authorities really clamp down with huge fines &/or prison sentences, the malpractices with these innocent animals will continue.

Posted by Logic on October 6, 2012 18:07


@ Martin. You are correct, please, give that man a Bells.

Posted by Robin on October 6, 2012 20:04


@ Ed: I visited Patong with friends during a short holiday 2 weeks ago. I took them to Soi Crocodile (name?) to watch the katoeys performing. A bunch of young Thais came in with 3 slow loris & 1 iguana, touting for photos. When some tourist police appeared, they scattered for cover, hiding their animals in the 3rd bar in on the left hand side (I cannot recall the name of the bar). Is there a number to contact to report such actions? Can you do another article as the last was well received by the public?

Posted by Logic on May 9, 2013 14:18

Sunday January 24, 2021
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