[monkeywire] Cambodians debate: Do gangster monkeys sniff glue?

John Neilson jneil at echonyc.com
Tue Jan 17 08:15:19 EST 2006

 From the Cambodia Daily, Tuesday Jan. 10, 2006, page 16

'Gangster monkeys' a Menace, Neighbors Say

By Lor Chandara and David McFadden
The Cambodia Daily

        A roving band of what one municipal official has dubbed "gangster 
monkeys" has been swiping laundry, biting students and eluding police 
across Daun Penh district in Phnom Penh.
        Pich Socheata, deputy governor of Daun Penh district, said monday that 
she will seek approval from City Hall to launch a campaign to capture 
unruly, violent wild monkeys.
        "We have to collect the nasty monkeys from the city. Otherwise they 
will disturb visitors and people living in the neighborhood," she said. 
"I have seen some monkeys grab glue bags from street kids and then they 
climbed up trees and sniffed it up. That's why some monkeys become 
violent and attack people."
        Phnom Penh Governor Kep Chuktena, however, dismissed the notion that 
any of the macaques, which he said are largely peaceful animals and 
popular with tourists, have been sniffing glue. "No, there are no 
monkeys sniffing glue. Some become violent because of sexual 
motivations," he said.
        Pich Socheata estimated that more than 200 wild monkeys congregate in 
trees around Wat Phnom, the Ministry of Commerce and the French school 
Lycee Rene Descartes. Following recent complaints of monkey attacks on 
members of the public, the Daun Penh district has seized 15 macaques.
        "We contacted the Cambodian authorities to tell them that the monkeys 
were in the vcinity of the school and were affecting the safety of the 
students," said Claude Abily, French Embassy spokeswoman. "There have 
been several instances of students who have been bitten."
        John Daigle, spokesman for the US Embassy, housed across from Wat 
Phnom, said the embassy has not contacted district officials about the 
        At Lycee Rene Descartes, an administrator, who said school policy 
prevented her from giving her name, confirmed that a few students had 
been bitten by monkeys coming on school grounds because of a fig tree, 
which has since been cut down for that reason.

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