Palang Pracharath MP candidate’s king cobra stunt hisses off Thailand’s Election Committee

Thailand’s Election Committee (EC) swiftly removed a Palang Pracharath Party (PPP) MP candidate from Khon Kaen Community Hall in northeast Thailand when he paraded around the busy hall with a deadly venomous king cobra around his neck during a registration event yesterday.

At 8.30am, MP candidates from all 11 political parties, from the 11 districts of Khon Kaen province, travelled to the provincial community hall to have their documents checked by the EC and draw a number that represents them in the upcoming elections.

Panya Sripanya, an MP candidate for the military-backed PPP representing district 3, brought along two king cobras and three pythons with him to the busy event from King Cobra Village – aka Ban Koke Sa-nga – in Nam Phong district.

When the MP candidate waltzed into the community hall with a king cobra draped around his neck, screams erupted from the more than 1,000 people in attendance.

The EC immediately instructed Panya to remove the five snakes from the building out of fear that they will bite someone and cause chaos. A bite from a king cobra – one of the most venomous snakes on the planet – can easily end fatally. Pythons aren’t venomous, but they’re not exactly friendly either.

However, for residents of King Cobra Village in rural Khon Kaen, handling venomous snakes is normal life. In the village, a total of 342 king cobras are domestically raised.

Snakes are kept in spacious cages for tourists to view and snake charmers, some as young as eight years old, put on snake shows for tourists.

During the pandemic, King Cobra Village struggled to cope as income from tourism – the main source of income in the village – drew to a total standstill. The village struggled to find enough food for all their snakes.

Specialists from Khon Kaen University regularly visit the village to observe snake behaviour and take samples of venom for study.

The tourist destination is a great place to learn about the nature of king cobras and how people manage to live in harmony with one of the world’s most dangerous snakes – if you’re brave enough.

The PPP named Prawit Wongsuwan as its candidate to run for the position of Prime Minister of Thailand in the upcoming general election.

Northern Thailand News

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Leah is a translator and news writer for the Thaiger. Leah studied East Asian Religions and Thai Studies at the University of Leeds and Chiang Mai University. Leah covers crime, politics, environment, human rights, entertainment, travel and culture in Thailand and southeast Asia.