Family of trampled tour guide settles for 2.5 million baht

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Chinese-language signs have now been erected at the park to warn unruly visitors about the dangers of irritating the giant mammals.
Chinese-language signs have now been erected at the park to warn unruly visitors about the dangers of irritating the giant mammals.

The family of a Chinese tour guide trampled to death by an elephant last month has returned home after being awarded 2.5 million baht.

Relatives of Yongji Hee, 35, demanded 13.5 million baht from the owner of the Golden Triangle elephant camp in Huay Yai after Uten, a 17-year-old bull, charged a crowd of Chinese tourists after one of them pulled the pachyderm’s tail Dec. 21.

Assisted by Tourist Police, park owner Prasert Tawee­piradeeboonsueb negotiated the family’s demands down to 2.5 million baht, with his insurance company picking up 1 million baht of the tab.

The family agreed not to pursue further legal action and departed for China Jan. 5.

Witnesses said the incident began when his group of 30 was intercepted by another group of elephant riders. The other group was asked to give way, but refused. Some, in fact, crowded the elephants to take selfies. Finally, a group of tourists entirely encircled Uten and one pulled its tail, sending it on its rampage.

Tourism Authority of Thailand Pattaya office Director Suladda Sarutilavan said Chinese-language signs have now been erected at the park to warn unruly visitors about the dangers of irritating the giant mammals.