Police officers have been using that phrase in explaining to the media the reason for the attack on Jack Cole and April Clifton, both 21, at a holiday destination in the province of Krabi on Monday night.
''We were strolling back to the pier after dinner in Ao Nang to catch a boat to our resort when we were attacked,'' Ms Clifton told Phuketwan today.
She was speaking at Bangkok Hospital Phuket, where Mr Cole is being treated for half a dozen stab wounds and a vicious long slash to the temple. The cut was probably inflicted by a machete.
The couple from Bath, enjoying a long-awaited ''holiday in paradise,'' have yet to give their version of events to Krabi police.
Officers have travelled from the neighboring province to Phuket and will interview the British couple this afternoon.
When Phuketwan called the investigating officer in Krabi this morning, he described the attack as the result of ''a misunderstanding.''
At the hospital in Phuket City a little later, Ms Clifton rejected any ''misunderstanding'' and supported Mr Cole's account when she spoke to Phuketwan.
''There was no misunderstanding,'' she said. ''We were ambushed and in fear of our lives. Jack was almost killed. This was not a misunderstanding.''
Mr Cole told Phuketwan last night in a graphic account that the attack came out of the blue and that he fought off the six or seven attackers because he feared the gang - mostly young men with perhaps two of them female - was intent on raping Ms Clifton.
''All I can do is guess what they wanted,'' Mr Cole said. ''But they did not want my wallet.''
Only after Mr Cole had fought off the gang did he discover he had been stabbed and was bleeding profusely. Ms Clifton also suffered bruising.
Another British man, an expat resident having a drink at a nearby bar, came to the couple's rescue, staunched the blood flow and probably saved Mr Cole's life.
Ms Clifton and her father Clive, who quickly flew to Phuket to help, went to Krabi yesterday to lodge a police statement so that the outcome of the attack will be covered by insurance.
Last night Mr Cole told Phuketwan ''I wouldn't like this to happen to anyone else. If I can help to prevent that, I would be prepared to stay for an extra few days.''
Mr Cole would probably need to give sworn evidence before a judge in a court so that the case against his assailants could be pursued after he and Ms Clifton return to Britain.
Three of the alleged attackers are believed to have been arrested in Krabi.
However, with police telling the media that the savage attack was the result of a ''misunderstanding'' before interviewing the victims, the British embassy and other envoys probably will remain alarmed at the potential for future attacks.