Thai provincial cops now chasing misbehaving monkeys

Bangkok, Mar. 28, (dpa/GNA) – Monkeys in the Thai province of Lop Buri took a step closer to being more like human beings: they too have to answer to the police.

In order to bring numerous aggressive monkeys under control, the province established its own police unit for the misbehaving macaques.

The malicious mammals have been a cause of concern for citizens for some time – but recently there have been an extremely high number of incidents with the animals, which are becoming increasingly aggressive and can also injure people.

Residents told the media that people were suddenly attacked in the street and the animals snatched all kinds of objects from them.

“Sometimes they steal students’ mobile phones,” said Boonmee Phaeju, a tailor from Lop Buri. “I ran after them, but I couldn’t do anything because the monkeys climbed onto a building in no time at all.”

The monkey cops have been patrolling the malicious mammals in the central region since Monday.

The unit was set up on the instructions of the local police chief Apirak Vetkanchana, the newspaper Bangkok Post reported on Thursday, citing the authorities. The officers are equipped with slingshots to keep the primates in check, it said.

This method is new and reportedly works better than the previous technique, in which the police shot the macaques with tranquillizer darts.

But the monkeys were only sedated after a few minutes and often managed to escape to the roofs of houses. Cages with bait were set up, resulting in 20 animals being caught in just a few days.

The province of Lop Buri and its capital of the same name are located around 140 kilometres from Bangkok and are famous for their large macaque population. The monkeys are protected in Thailand by the Wildlife Conservation and Protection Act.

The captured monkeys will first be examined at a wildlife clinic. It was not yet clear what would happen to them afterwards. The authorities are looking for a long-term solution, such as placing them in a zoo, according to reports. A recent survey showed there were more than 5,700 macaques living in the province in 2023.