Pattaya, July 28 [PDN]: an irritable, apparently hungry elephant, tethered in a wood and given food by a good-natured 15-year-old youth, proceeded to attack, brutalise and eventually knock him unconscious for his trouble, resulting in the hospitalization of the donor. Police are following up the case

At 07.00 am, on 28 July, 2009, Pol.Lt.Col. Tanadetch Doungtapiyachai, Banglamung Police Investigator, was notified that a boy had been attacked by an elephant in the woods on Soi 3, Nong Plalai, Nongprue, Banglamung. Police and the rescue team were duly dispatched to investigate.

At the scene, police found Master Weerapong Pongpun, [15], originally from Samutprakan, lying unconscious on the ground. He was in a serious condition; his body literally covered in wounds. The rescue team rushed him to the Banglamung Hospital.

Later on, when the boy victim recovered consciousness, he told the reporter that he had been living in a temple and every morning had had to follow a monk, Loung Pee Noi, to receive food offerings from the locals. However, this morning, at 6.30 am, when he was following the monk as usual, walking through the Eucalyptus woods, they found two elephants tied to a tree. The boy said he had stopped and looked at the elephants, noticing that the older elephant was crying. He said he felt sorry for the elephant, so he walked towards it, handing it water melon, which he had earlier received from donors.

The boy continued, saying that the elephant had then walked really fast towards him and had unexpectedly run at him, butted him with its head and using its trunk had grabbed his legs, throwing him to the ground before beating him in the face with its trunk. The monk and a mahout, who had just come out of the bush, shouted at the elephant and told it to stop attacking the boy, after which, the elephant ran away into the bush and the boy was taken to the hospital.

Mr. Promwichai Yongrum, [18], from Burirum, the mahout, said he had had the male elephant, Plai Keaw, [4 years, 8 months old] and the 2 year-old baby one tethered in the bush for about 2 months already. He said Plai Keaw has a short temper. He claimed that the boy victim had played with the elephant before, saying he had previously warned the boy not to play with the elephant, but today he had not been at the scene when the boy handed the water melon to the elephant. He assumed that the elephant must have been hungry and having seen the boy with the fruit in his hand became over-enthusiastic.

However, the police said they would conduct further investigations and question the boy again when he has recovered, after which there may be a legal case to answer to.


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