The news went viral on Thai social media yesterday after a video was posted showing the tourist bleeding profusely from the bite.
Somphian Kosaipruek, a snack vendor in the area who provided assistance to the tourist by cleaning the wound and wrapping it in a bandage, confirmed the incident occurred on Sunday (Dec 8).
During a visit to the site yesterday, Maj Gen Krissak said, “A lot of tourists come to Toh Sae Hill to see the view and the monkeys. Most accidents happen [there] because tourists feed, play with and take photos with the monkeys.
“For a solution, there must be more warnings. The existing signs are insufficient. There should be clear text and pictures about how to feed monkey properly and also warning signs telling people to not tease the monkeys,” he said.
“We will contact the president of the Phuket Provincial Administrative Organisation (PPAO, or OrBorJor) to set up some first aid points, because I have been told that tourists are attacked by monkeys here every day.
“I also want security guards to have walkie-talkies to contact each other when an incident happens,” he added.
Pongchart Chouehorm, Chief of the Nature and Wildlife Education Centre at Khao Phra Thaew in Thalang, said that he was unclear in what had provoked the monkey to bite the tourist.
However, he added, “Tourists, look at the signs that have already been posted to warn tourists – in four languages.”
The “monkey rules” posted show a departure from original orders to not feed wild monkeys at all to now “Please only feed monkeys at designated areas”.
However, they also warn people to beware that monkeys may bite.
The signs, posted last year in areas across the island with large wild monkey populations, caution, “Do not take your food back from monkeys”, “Do not touch monkeys directly” and “Do not poke and assault monkeys at all times”.
Further, the signs warn “A tour guide must follow all the rules” and display graphic images of people who have contracted serious, sometimes deadly, diseases from wild monkeys. (See story here.)
If bitten, people are urged to clean and cover the wound as quickly as possible – and seek medical attention immediately, Mr Pongchart said.
“Anyone bitten must stop the bleeding first and get to a hospital fast as possible for first aid and to have the wound cleaned and for the doctor to determine if any treatment is required for rabies, tetanus or other diseases,” he added.