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Siem Reap seeing red after buffalo rampage

buffalo rampage photo supplied
People gather around a water buffalo that was shot after it went on a rampage in Siem Reap, Saturday, Dec. 22, 2012. Photograph supplied

She was mad. She was on the loose. She was a 200-kilogram water buffalo.

Her rampage started in Chreav commune, in Siem Reap town, on Saturday afternoon, when she bowled over her owner and ran wild into the streets.

According to area police chief Chhoum Samban, it didn’t take long for people in the vicinity to split – or get hit.

Witnesses told Samban the big beast had injured her owner and two others, wrecked bicycles, run over motorbikes as easily as if they were mere tiny buffalo, and smashed into a car.

About 4pm, right next to the Kantha Bopha Children’s Hospital, the buffalo decided to enter the grounds of a luxury hotel.

Masa Taguchi, executive assistant manager of Le Meridien Angkor, said the angry animal trampled through the main garden entrance and dived into a decorative canal of water lilies and lotus flowers, where she swam around for a bit.

“Water buffalo like water,” Taguchi said. “The swim was very short: when I was called, the buffalo was lying on the ground.

“I was very worried. I had to ask the guests to stay in the hotel building.

“I asked all my Cambodian staff, and they said this was the  first time they had seen that.”

Taguchi said that after about 20 minutes, the buffalo moved on, running in the direction of the Angkor Wat temple complex.

She made it as far as the northern section of Thmai pagoda, in Siem Reap’s Kokchak commune, before police officers gunned her down.

“Police tried to catch it and announced by megaphone to the public to be careful,” Samban, the police chief in Kokchak commune, said. “This mad buffalo ran to attack people wherever it saw them.”

All three injured were taken to a local hospital.



To contact the reporter on this story: Khoun Leakhana at

Joe Freeman at



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