A gun at his hip, police captain Puripan Suwannarat squared off against his adversary on a sunny afternoon. Despite favoring a long stick to his sidearm, he walked away from the duel standing – with a buffalo in tow.
Photos showing Puripan confronting an agitated buffalo inside an apartment building in the southern province of Songkhla have captivated social media since Wednesday. In the images, he holds a long wood pole toward a buffalo that’s assumed a defensive crouch in a residential hallway. The would-be bullfighter’s pics have spawned countless jokes and left many puzzled over what led to the encounter.
Puripan himself gave a simple reason for posting them – he needed to convince his wife that he had a good reason for being late.
“I’m coming home a bit late, darling,” he wrote in the post, tagging his wife. “I have to take a buffalo out of an apartment and to its pen.”
Since buffaloes also stand in for idiots in Thai reckoning, the post went viral with many commentators announcing they had “found” their friends. The photos were shared 9,500 times as of Thursday afternoon.
What led the buffalo into the narrow hallway? Capt. Puripan could not answer.
“When I arrived, it was already inside,” Puripan, who’s been on the force for 12 years, said in an interview today.
But a building maid said that a buffalo fight outside spilled into the building after one injured animal sought sanctuary inside with another in hot pursuit. The two hostile animals put their horns through several walls, she said, as they tried to gore each other.
Puripan said he eventually lured the buffalo out by “baiting” it with a brightly colored police vest.
Puripan said he had to post the photos to avoid grief at home because he was supposed to leave work by 4pm, but the trespassing buffalo emergency kept him on duty till 5pm.
“She found it funny, too,” the policeman said, adding that the animal was extracted without harm.