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Video Report: Phuket snake bites tourist after attempted kiss, officials review safety measures

Legacy Phuket Gazette



PHUKET: Officials are scrambling to reevaluate snake show safety measures after a Chinese tourist was bitten by a 2.5-meter-long python that she attempted to kiss in Phuket on Saturday.

“After the show, I took the python out for the tourists to take photos with as usual. Then suddenly, a woman tried to kiss the snake without informing me of what she was doing,” said Sarawut Toompo, the employee in charge of the snake at the time of the attack. “I think the python just panicked and was attempting to defend itself.

“I’ve worked here for about two years and a snake has never bitten a tourist before.”

Mr Sarawut pointed out that it was also against company policy to allow tourists to kiss the snakes.

Nonetheless, the company has taken responsibility for the incident, confirmed General Manager Krittiporn Poomkunchorn.

“Even though it was an accident, we have taken responsibility for all the tourist’s expenses at the hospital in Phuket, as well as in China,” Ms Krittiporn said. “She did not want to file a complaint about this. Maybe she realized it was her fault for trying to kiss the snake without checking with the handler first.”

The snake attack occurred at Phuket Bio Technology Co Ltd in Chalong, which has six snake boxes that house pythons, cobras and king cobras. The company also sells traditional herbal medicines and products made from snake skin.

Jin Jing, 29, was treated at Phuket International Hospital and flew back to China with her tour group yesterday, confirmed Santi Pawai, the director of the Ministry of Tourism and Sports (MOTS) Phuket Office.

Mr Sarawut was charged for recklessly performing his job and causing injury, despite his explanation of what happened.

“We will be holding a meeting on Thursday with representatives from all animal shows in Phuket, including those that use crocodiles and elephants, to discuss what rules need to be put in place to ensure something like this doesn’t happen again,” Mr Santi said.

— Kritsada Mueanhawong


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