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Lieutenant Chana Sutthimas with a protester at Karon temple today

People Flock to Phuket Temple to Demand Apology from Russian Tourist for Vandalism

Friday, October 25, 2013
UPDATING All Day, Every Day

THE PROTEST broke up at Karon Temple this afternoon with the crowd unmoved and threatening to blockade the Karon Police Station if the Russian is not produced to make a public apology within seven days.

Original Report

PHUKET: Residents of a west-coast holiday destination on Phuket have gathered at a Buddhist temple and are today demanding an apology for desecration committed by a Russian tourist.

''If the Russian cannot be brought here in person, we want to have the Russian ambassador, the Governor or the Phuket Police Commander come to apologise,'' said village chief Winai Chitchiew.

In temple vandalism brought on by drunkenness, arrested Russian tourist Oleg Fomenko has admitted smashing the life-sized image of a monk with a crowbar.

Security camera footage recorded the desecration by the 31-year-old tourist. Phuket police arrested him almost 24 hours later, still wearing the same shirt.

Today the anger of Karon residents grew with about 100 flocking to the temple in protest.

Karon resident Norm Yenjid said: ''We expect this man to return to the temple and tell us all that he is sorry for what he did.

''It is not considered proper for this kind of thing to happen in a temple. Without an apology, there can be no real peace.

''We have always had great admiration for this monk and what the Russian man has done is beyond acceptance, unless he delivers an apology.''

Officers at Karon Police Station were unsure what to do about the residents' unusual protest.

People arrested on Phuket are not usually asked to apologise to communities for their actions, unless they appear in court and decide to say sorry there.

The people of Karon, south of Patong, have blockaded the local police station in the past over the activities of Russians they accused of taking business from locals.

Karon's taxi and tuk-tuk drivers are recognised as being perhaps the most resistant to reforms that are considered necessary for Phuket's future as a global tourist destination.


Comments have been disabled for this article.


Though I fully condemn the drunken actions of this Russian man, I absolutely oppose any vigilante action to force him to do anything whatsoever.

Who is to guarantee his safety if he decides to attend and apologize in person ?

It was a case of foolish, drunken vandalism and through the valiant efforts of the Phuket police to hunt down yet another foreign offender he was brought to justice.

Norm Yenjid can expect whatever she wants but she is no position of authority whatsoever.

How about demanding the Tuk-Tuk driver who beat up the elderly French couple with a metal bar in front of their grand children in Kata a few years back to come to the middle of a crowd of a few hundred foreign tourists to apologize for his actions ?

Funny how it's always a one way street to some when it comes to taking responsibility of criminal actions.

I can see ever increasing signs of hostility and intolerance towards foreigners in Phuket and Thailand in general. This does not bode well.

Posted by ThaiMike on October 25, 2013 14:31


I agree with ThaiMike's last paragraph with regards to Phuket ... but not the rest of Thailand except in isolated cases. I have just spent 2 weeks in Korat & 1 week in Chiang Mai & the people there were very friendly. I had a super holiday in Chiang Mai with my family, from my 81 y.o. mother to my 8 y.o. Thai niece. It reminded me of Phuket as it once was.

Posted by Logic on October 25, 2013 14:59


Once again, more 'Quality Tourists''.. ??

Posted by robert on October 25, 2013 15:18


Although I agree with Thaimikes post. I also highly diapprove of this latest example of Russian behavior in Thailand. Such alchohol abuse and their inability to control their actions harms other Russians who visit here and certainly increases their already poor reputations as tourists in Thailand.

Posted by Ozette on October 25, 2013 15:25


A bit off topic but looking at the shirtless Thai man next to the police officer I can't help but to wonder why was a Russian man recently fined for driving in his car without a shirt and this man here has the officer just smile at him ?

This of all places at a Temple where a modest attire is required.

Can anyone explain this ?

Posted by ThaiMike on October 25, 2013 17:12


Kata and Karon are becoming the hub of blockades. Why do the guys have their shirts off, showing their disrespect for a religious site I think?

Posted by RobinS on October 25, 2013 17:36


I'm not an expert but I am not impressed with the "Buddhist" protesters demanding things. Yes the Russian was wrong, but Buddhism is all about the cyle of life and the natural cause and effect of life, the Russian will face his karma without these believers demanding it, if they are truly believers.

Posted by May on October 25, 2013 17:52


On behalf of a sane Russian citizen, I'd like to apologize for the actions of my fellow countryman.

This is obviously disrespectful in regard to Thai culture and the people.

Posted by Andrey on October 25, 2013 18:08


I'd like to apologize for the behavior of that citizen of my country. His behavior is totally unacceptable.

Posted by Evgeny on October 25, 2013 18:24


I feel sad that when I first came to Phuket in 2006 in was so pleasant, friendly Thai people, relaxed etc. Now it is crowded, aggressive and fuelled by greed. The divide between Thais and foreigners is greater than ever I think mainly over jealously over the perception that all foreigners have big money and should give it to Thais. Objective justice is so hard to obtain if you are a foreigner here in Phuket. It pains me to say that I am seriously considering moving to another part of Thailand, perhaps Krabi, Phang Nga as Phuket is no longer a "paradise" and the traffic is like living in a major city and will only get worse.

Posted by Same Same But Different on October 25, 2013 19:32


Cycle of life, blablabla. Just try it in Russia, do a dance performance in a church, something like a Pussy Riot. So yes, he should come to the place and say he is sorry for hurting the feeling of the people who love this monk. That will help finding together, saying sorry and receiving forgiveness. And will teach the russian tourists more respect for the local temples when putting him away in prison.

Posted by Lena on October 25, 2013 20:08

Wednesday May 18, 2022
Horizon Karon Beach Resort & Spa


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