Viral sensation meets silver screen at Planet of the Apes premiere

The Thai girl photographed aiming an air gun at a monkey in a viral, award-winning picture, was guest of honour at the gala premiere of the Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes movie at Siam Paragon mall in Bangkok yesterday. She shared her experiences of living with troops of monkeys in the central province of Lopburi. ”

Back in February, the image of the Thai girl, later identified as Noey, went viral on Reddit and various social media platforms. The photo, taken by wildlife photographer nhm_wpy, scooped the top award in the 50th European Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition.

The photo vividly depicts the daily challenges faced by locals in Lop Buri who live with troops of monkeys. These animals not only annoy but also pose physical threats, having attacked people on multiple occasions.

In the picture, the girl in a primary school uniform was seen walking along the roadside with an air gun in her right hand and her snack and drink in her left. She reportedly needed the gun for protection against monkeys on her way home.

Thai girl points air gun at monkey in Lop Buri
Photo via Instagram/ @nhm_wpy

Another image, captured by a Thai man named Narongdad Eiamtim, shows a monkey holding a toy gun while perched on a fence in Lop Buri. Many Thai netizens drew parallels between these images and scenes from the Planet of the Apes movie series, highlighting the tension between humans and apes for control.

The movie franchise recently released its new sequel, the Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes, and the Walt Disney film studio wanted to ride on this trend. The studio invited Noey, the girl from the viral photo, to the gala premiere at the Paragon Cineplex in Siam Paragon mall yesterday, May 8.

During an interview, Noey revealed that most locals in Lop Buri carry weapons to defend themselves against monkey attacks. She mentioned that her family always carries weapons when leaving home, and her air gun seemed the scariest.

Noey concluded the interview by expressing that she would have lost her snacks and drink before reaching home if she had not been armed with the air gun.

The photos and Noey’s story shed light on the issues that locals in Lopburi province have been suffering from. They are now urging relevant authorities to intervene and implement sustainable solutions to control the monkey population.

Meanwhile, the Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes is now released in cinemas across Thailand starting today, May 9.

the Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes
Photo via Facebook/ Major Group
Thai girl air gun monkeys Lop Buri
Photo via Facebook/ 20th Century Studios

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Petch Petpailin

Petpailin, or Petch, is a Thai translator and writer for The Thaiger who focuses on translating breakingThai news stories into English. With a background in field journalism, Petch brings several years of experience to the English News desk at The Thaiger. Before joining The Thaiger, Petch worked as a content writer for several known blogging sites in Bangkok, including Happio and The Smart Local. Her articles have been syndicated by many big publishers in Thailand and internationally, including the Daily Mail, The Sun and the Bangkok Post. She is a news writer who stops reading news on the weekends to spend more time cafe hopping and petting dwarf shrimp! But during office hours, you can find Petch on LinkedIn and you can reach her by email at

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