Monkey business: Video of monkey 'kidnapping' toddler in Indonesia shocks netizens

PHOTO: Twitter/RexChapman

A video of a monkey grabbing and dragging a toddler away on a street in Indonesia has gone viral on the internet, leaving netizens reeling in shock at the sight.

According to various reports, the incident occurred in Surabaya on May 2.

A 15-second-long clip shows the monkey zooming down the street on a toy motorbike, crashing into a group of children seated on a bench. Then it jumped off the vehicle and started dragging a girl away by the arm.

Seconds later, the monkey released the child who got back on her feet and tottered back to safety. Although she got away with only abrasions on the forehead, the toddler was traumatised by the incident.

https://twitter.com/RexChapman/status/1257108668492984321

Since the clip made its rounds online, there has been an onslaught of speculation as to what had happened that day.

Some Twitter users believe it was an attempt to kidnap the child for human trafficking purposes.

https://twitter.com/PDX_DianeS/status/1257157780689113090

Other eagle-eyed viewers noticed what appeared to be a rope around the monkey's neck, shifting the attention to the issue of animal cruelty.

https://twitter.com/SStralberg/status/1257211235663261696 https://twitter.com/FultertonAW/status/1257110593976352774

It turned out that the monkey had been part of a traditional street performance known as topeng monyet (masked monkey). The show typically involves a long-tailed monkey performing various tricks for money while wearing a doll mask.

A trained monkey during a Topeng Monyet (Monkey Mask) show in east Jakarta April 25, 2011.  PHOTO: Reuters

In recent years, animal rights groups such as the Jakarta Animal Aid Network have campaigned for such shows to be banned due to the abuse that the monkeys suffer under their handlers.

Their efforts have seen limited success in the country. The shows were banned in some places like Jakarta in 2013 but not in others like Surabaya. 

jayliang@asiaone.com