The elephant, named Namwan, is the same elephant seized at the “Mai Khao Mart”, near Mai Khao Plaza at the northern end of Phuket, on Aug 3 following a tip-off from undercover police that he was being used by touts to charge tourists money to have their photo taken with the iconic animal. (See story here.)
In addition, Col Prawit Sutthirueangarun Chief of Tha Chatchai Police Station told The Phuket News today (Nov 4) that he believes the incident should never have happened as Namwan should have been moved from the island after it was seized by officials on Aug 3.
Col Prawit said, “Australian tourist Chan Young Yun, 62, was walking at Mai Khao Plaza at 9:15am on October 31 when he saw an elephant nearby chained to a coconut tree. He went close to the elephant as he wanted to take a photo.
“Suddenly the elephant used its trunk to hit Mr Chan many times which is what caused his injuries. He was taken to hospital, and at 5pm on Nov 1 one of Mr Chan’s relatives came to the police station to make a record the incident,” he said.
“We found out from his relative that Mr Chan sustained injuries to both sides of his rib cage and also his back. He also has blood in right lung so he is being closely monitored by doctors at Bangkok Hospital Phuket,” he added.
Col Prawit went on to say that he believes that Namwan’s mahout had left him chained to the tree as a tourist attraction. However, he added that after being seized by the livestock department on Aug 3 the elephant should not have even been on the island.
After Namwan was seized by the Phuket Livestack Office on Aug 3 his mahout had to keep him in a locked enclosure for 30 days, after the 30 days expired the Livestock Office should have transferred Namwan off of the island.
“Tha Chatchai police repeatedly called the Phuket Livestock Office to have them transfer Namwan out of Phuket, they never did. If he had been transferred like he was supposed to have been then this incident would never have happened,” he said.
The Mai Khao Local Administration Office (OrBorTor) Chief Sarawut Srisakukam said, “When I was last updated on the situation I was told that the tourist is recovering at Bangkok Hospital.
“After I found out about the incident I informed the Phuket Livestock Office to take care of this elephant as it is their responsibility,” he said.
When The Phuket News tried to call Surajit Witchuwan, Chief of Phuket Provincial Livestock Office today his phone was switched off.
However, The Phuket News has learned that the Phuket Livestock Office transported Namwan to the Noppring district of Phang Nga by six-wheeler truck on Nov 2.