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Champion snake charmer bitten by king cobra at competition

June 7, 1997

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) _ This was one snake he couldn’t charm.

A Malaysian snake charmer is recovering from a badly swollen cheek after planting an unwanted kiss on a king cobra.

Rahim Taha took just five minutes to tame the six-foot reptile during a snake charming competition. But when he kissed it, the not-TOO-charmed snake bit him on the cheek, the Bernama news agency said today.

Taha was hospitalized in stable condition at a hospital in Kangar, 300 miles north of the capital. Cobra bites can be fatal.

The event at the Sungai Batu Pahat Snake and Reptile Farm drew about 5,000 spectators and 20 charmers.

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