International alarm at the treatment of the protected primates was triggered when pop singer Rihanna posted a ''selfie'' with a wide-eyed critter last month.
On the ground in Phuket's nightlife hub of Patong, officials have since failed to seriously deter the touts - or to close the lewd ping pong sex show that Rihanna attended and later tweeled about.
The unseemly denigration of women and the abuse of harmless furry animals appear to be two modern-day issues that Thai authorities struggle to confront.
Thanks to the man with the laser beam, warnings quickly spread around Bangla whenever the law comes looking for touts.
Lorises are such small furry balls that they can quickly be tucked away into a shoulder bag.
The sex shows are not so easily tucked away. Though they are openly advertised by scores of touts, the police seem unable to locate even one. Our advice: just follow the tourists up the stairs.
We don't know whether endangered ping pong artistes have a sanctuary to go to when their working life is over, but it's certainly the aim of a group of wildlife activists on Phuket to rescue and preserve the slow lorises.
It was with a sense of wonder late last year that a Phuketwan team and a BBC crew photographed a family of gibbons being returned to the wild in the Phuket jungle.
Wild whoo-whoos filled the air as Cop, a female gibbon rescued from Patong touts, began to explore Khao Phraw Thaew, Phuket's last sizeable rainforest.
Her mate Jorn and their young male offspring, Sherpa, were soon to follow. The family's release back into the wild was the culmination of years of work at Phuket's Gibbon Rehabilitation Project centre.
There are now 30 gibbons living in the wilds of Phuket, and that's quite an achievement.
Once it was gibbons, not lorises, that were taken by touts to earn money from unthinking tourists in the streets of Patong and neighboring Karon.
Gibbons remain at-risk in Thailand but primatologist Petra Osterberg is now hoping to rescue the lorises in a similar fashion.
Sadly, because their teeth are generally removed before they are put to work, the lorises can never be returned to the wild the way that the gibbons have been.
''Our hope is to help the individual animals, and at the same time to raise awareness among tourists to decrease the demand for this trade,'' she told Phuketwan this week.
''Once taken from the wild as babies and mutilated for the trade, the majority of the photo prop lorises are not suitable for release.
''Our project will combine education, research and animal welfare.''
An appeal is now underway to establish a refuge for the lorises on Phuket. It won't be easy.
There's an alternative government-run shelter in Phang Nga, but it's reported to be quite crowded already because of the large numbers of lorises being abused on Phuket.
For now, caring for the lorises taken from the touts seems to be the only alternative.
It's complicated because of their territorial characteristics. They don't congregate in large groups and can treat each other badly.
''Around 90 percent of animals die after release, even within carefully conducted reintroduction programs in Vietnam and Indonesia,'' Ms Osterberg said.
''The majority of lorises used in Patong are non-native to Phuket, or to Petchaburi, where they're still found in the wild.
''Lorises have large wild territories and will fight until death to defend these. There is currently no other species-specific rescue and rehabilitation center for slow lorises in Thailand.
''By releasing a large number of rescued lorises to the wild, as is currently practised by some centres, the animals go to certain death and the act may also pose problems for any native lorises potentially already living within the area.''
As with the gibbons over the past 30 years, awareness of the issue is growing and more people are coming to understand the special needs of the lorises.
''There is a huge need for more education about lorises: their taxononomy, captive care and reintroduction techniques should be made available to various centres and bodies within Thailand,'' Ms Osterberg said.
''Our working group consists of world-leading loris experts and primatologists. Our aim is to achieve the best possible outcome for all animals - those still in the wild, those within the trade and those that have already been rescued.''
What it will take to stop the trade is the rejection by tourists of cuddly, cute photos of the kind that Rihanna posted.
That, combined with much heavier penalties to deter repeat offenders, should stem the cruelty.
As for the ping pong artistes who bring a different kind of shame on Thailand . . . they seem to already be a well-protected species, but on the wrong side of the law.