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Pierced women warriors have a grip on this year's Vegetarian Festival

Pierced Women on Parade: Photo Special

Friday, October 11, 2013
PHUKET: Women are piercing their cheeks in record numbers this Vegetarian Festival with today's parade onlookers asking a big question: will their faces be scarred?

Although there was competition from one warrior with a Qantas jet piercing through a cheek and another with suspended Lamborghini and Ferrari images, Phuket's women took centre stage at today's procession.

The Jui Tui shrine's parade is always among the biggest of the nine-day festival and today's was no exception.

But the thousands of onlookers, many dressed in white, could not help but note the increase in the number of women now mimicking the deeds of the men.

The wounds in the men's cheeks usually heal remarkably quickly but in many cases there is scarring - a ritual Phuket mark for the men but perhaps not so desirable for the women.

The festival ends on Sunday night in a spectacular burst of fireworkers and synchronised temple parades that bring Phuket City to a standstill as the invading spirits are driven back into the sea.

Lower levels of crime have been reported around Phuket during the festival, although sometimes items are recorded as ''missing'' when in fact they have been stolen.

A few entranced warriors have required hospital treatment and stitches.

Plain clothes police have reprimanded or arrested several teenagers in Phuket City for throwing firecrackers to annoy crowds.

Hotels and guesthouses in Phuket City have been booked out as usual.

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