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Bizarre death in elephant camp

Legacy Phuket Gazette



Bizarre death in elephant camp | Thaiger

PATONG: Bizarre theories surround the fate of an Asian woman, probably Thai, who was found dead Wednesday morning at the Safari Elephant Camp on Siriraj Rd, between Karon and Patong.

Police have speculated that she may have been assaulted by unknown assailants who tried to rape her, and was then crushed to death by one of the elephants.

The woman is thought to have been between 20 and 25 years of age. She had long brown hair and was around 170 centimeters tall. She was found with the right side of her chest and rib cage crushed and a blunt-trauma injury above her right eyebrow.

There were also injuries to her back and legs, consistent, police said, with her having been dragged along the ground.

The body, which was lying in elephant dung, was found at 7 am by Sompong Pinthong, 28, and Sutin Pheta-wut, 37, both of whom are mahouts at the camp. Six elephants live at the camp, which closes at 5:30 pm every day.

The body was clothed only in a brown singlet and one shoe. A pair of trousers, underpants and another shoe, all of which police believe belonged to the dead woman, were found near her body.

A small silk purse, also found near the body, was empty apart from four one-baht coins and two condoms. No identification was found in the purse or in the woman’s clothing.

Pol Lt Pratheng Polmana, of Kathu Police Station, said that the woman may have been injured or killed before being dumped at the elephant camp. He added that, although the cause of death had not yet been established, the young woman had not been raped.

“We are trying to identify the victim so that her body, which is at Patong Hospital, can be released to relatives. We are also trying to establish how she died,” Lt Pratheng said.

Veterinarian Dr Jirayu Niranvirot, a specialist in elephants from Phuket Provincial Livestock Office (PPLO), told the Gazette, “Under normal circumstances, an elephant will not injure people. If an elephant does attack people, it is only when it is angry or when it is in musth (a periodic state of sexual agitation).”


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