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Sean Kenzie, who is being treated at Bangkok Hospital Phuket

Phuket Police 'Holding Passport of Cash-Strapped Tattoo Tourist'

Thursday, July 12, 2012
PHUKET: The reputation of Phuket protecting tourists is being damaged in a dispute that has pitted a motorcycle crash victim from New Zealand against the Bangkok Hospital Phuket.

The media in New Zealand say that Sean Kenzie is stuck in the hospital on Phuket and so strapped for cash to pay his bills that his brother is now selling tattoo space on his body.

According to older brother Kane Kenzie: ''We are trying everything we can, but we are running out of time. They [the Phuket hospital] won't release him until we have paid the bill. There's a guard on his door.''

The marketing people at Bangkok Hospital Phuket hadn't realised their popular Thai hospital brand was being tarnished online until Phuketwan pointed out the problem today.

Head of the hospital's Marketing Communications Department, Niyompong Torwong, said there was no guard on Mr Kenzies' Phuket ward door - that would only happen if the patient was in danger or the patient could cause harm to others.

But Khun Niyompong did reveal that police were holding Mr Kenzie's passport.

Officers on Phuket are only supposed to hold passports if the people involved have been accused of a serious crime involving drugs or violence. If that is the situation in Mr Kenzie's case, perhaps we need to know more.

As Khun Niyompong could not recall which police station was holding the passport, we were unable to check to find out why it was being held.

The Kenzie family is quoted today as saying that the outstanding hospital bill is $25,000 and he would need $43,000 for a medical evacuation back to New Zealand.

He suffered collapsed lungs, a split liver, neck injuries, and a broken jaw, which still required surgery.

Efforts appear to be made to raise sympathy in the New Zealand media by a process of suggesting extreme solutions and exaggerations about the Phuket hospital and its fees.

The 27-year-old, who had been working as a roofer in Perth, did not realise that his travel insurance did not cover motorcycles and was seriously injured when he crashed with a van soon after his Phuket holiday began last week.

A spokeswoman for the insurance company, Cover-More Travel Insurance Australia, told the hawkesbaytoday site that he did not pay an extra premium for the scooter/moped policy, which cost $20-$30.

That lets the insurance company off the hook, but not the Phuket hospital.

Khun Niyompong rejected claims that the hospital's fees were too expensive, arguing that they were similar to scheduled fees for operations at other Phuket hospitals.

With or without a guard on the door, Mr Kenzie remains inside Bangkok Hospital Phuket and his family is probably planning the next move in their campaign to get him home.

''I know it's crazy,'' brother Kane said of the latest tattoo idea, ''but desperate times call for desperate measures.

''If I'm able to get my brother home then it's worth it.''


Comments have been disabled for this article.


Seems very expensive...maybe Bangkok Hosp could sponsor him to have another tattoo advertising Bangkok Hosp?!

Posted by Anonymous on July 12, 2012 17:42


Passport held by police and Khun Niyompong could not remember which station ... just an ugly thought...maybe the passport is at the hospital.....generally the police will need to give a receipt to people from which they confiscate driving licenses and for that matter passports, how can we else know where to go and get them back ?

Posted by Bjarne on July 12, 2012 17:56


Well, that hospital saved his life. And when he is gone, he will not care for anything, at least that's what the hospital experiences in a lot of this cases.

He is stupid not to pay the premium, he did rent the motorbike, he drove into the accident. All his choices. He is morally responsible to pay his debt. No one else. Not the insurance for not being paid first, not the doctors with less income, not the other patients by higher payments for his failures.

His family should come up with a number and cash in the hand and talk seriously with the hospital. Show some gratitude and settle in full and quiet.

Health care is expensive and one of the highest risks in life, even without riding a motorcycle in Phuket. And what is 20-30 $ extra for a vacation on Phuket? 2 times riding a tuktuk...

Posted by Lena on July 12, 2012 17:59


"Khun Niyompong [...] "fees were similar to scheduled fees for operations at other Phuket hospitals"
There is probably a 's' to many, at the word hospital.
But anyway, I doubt, that the Kiwi would like to stay in Watchira or Mission, instead, because of less expensive health care. Bangkok Phuket, and the Phuket International Hospital are on western standards, the local ones are not only cheaper! Actually, to reduce cost, he should ask for getting moved to Mission, if he only need a bed space for recovery, after the needed operations are done. That will save a lot of money.
For the passport, if the police and the hospital can't (wanna) tell, where it is: Obvious got lost, somewhere!
Make a report to Phuket police station, get a new one from the embassy! Fight this with their own system.

Posted by ??? on July 12, 2012 18:05


Two people similar conditions, similar treatment, 48 hrs in hospital. Bangkok International B128k on insurance, Phuket International B27k- I beg to differ with K Niyompong about the competetiveness of their prices(receipts available if required). They love to milk the cash cow of insurance there- just check the walk in rate and insurance rate for a room. I think you will find as well if you refer to your last story on this quoting the Hawkes Bay Today in your daily news round up that it's Mr Kenzie's brother Kane that is selling tattoo space on his body, not Sean Kenzie.

Posted by Mister Ree on July 12, 2012 18:48


The involved TukTuk is declared as transport vehicle; so the TukTuk should have an insurance to cover expenses while transporting passengers and the driver should be hold responsible of the accident and be charge for careless driving and sued in court to share the hospital bill.

Posted by Whistle-Blower on July 12, 2012 19:00


Police obviously, "safe guarding" the passport against theft or any potential abuse? No one in police has any wrong intent and all what is happeninng is for benefits of the person in question.
No laws are violated, as pasport is not held, but guarded.


This is supposed to be a template of expected comment from police on the story.

Posted by SUe on July 12, 2012 21:18


I feel for this poor guy. I hire motorbikes in phuket and to be honest have never checked the small print to see if i am actually covered for riding a motor bike, just assumed i was. Will definitely look in to this now. Get well soon fella..

Posted by sateeb on July 13, 2012 00:42


who is supposed to pay the hospital bill then? Should they swallow it ?
Tourists have to take their responsabilities, especially when travelling without a proper coverage (I forgot : he wanted to save 20 $ on his coverage plan).

Posted by william on July 13, 2012 01:05


Surely it was a mistake on his account for not checking the insurance well enough. Mistakes can happen. As well as accidents. But that does not mean that they need to lash out at Bangkok Hospital.
If you are used to free hospital care, because your government takes care of it, you are probably not aware of the costs involved in saving a life and giving comfort. But I think that fees here are still quite cheap compared to most countries. (if you actually had to pay the bill by yourself)
It is already a good thing that no one left him on the road, or refused to treat him, because he was not insured. Seems like police and hospital did a great job. But once that is done and it's time to settle the bill, it is easy to forget that.

Posted by Tinkerbell on July 13, 2012 11:09


Not Acceptable

An appropriate representation of the requested resource / could not be found on this server. BLOCKED am I?

Posted by Dun on July 13, 2012 12:55

Editor Comment:

Doesn't look as though you are, Dun.


-Whistle Blower-
Sorry, did I miss something? The Vans insurance shall pay the hospital bill? Is it clear, who was responsible for the accident?
Same you write, you must know it -Whistle Blower-.

Regarding the Bangkok Phuket Hospital prices, I was myself In and Out patient there, had my Thai GF and my son staying Overnight there, 2 and 1 night on different occasions. 2 nights, 30.000 Baht.
The service is first class, the rooms are cheap for the space, but the treatment and medicine, infusions etc. Are expensive, so I felt always!

Posted by Alfred on July 13, 2012 14:31


Do people from New Zealand just think they can come here and do what they will, and then run off when it not goes as they want ???
Pay the bill ! It was not other customers at the hospital who there was driving on a motorbike, so why shall they pay for him ??
I also remember another New Zealand guy who killed my friends daugther in a motorbike accident, and his family helped him disapeer back home !!!
I not like your attitude !!
The price seems OK, he could had chosen a cheaper hospital, if you want 5 star treatment you pay 5 star prices !

Posted by karsten on July 13, 2012 16:13


It sounds like the injured man could just barely afford the holiday to start with. Or would he not be in a hotel now, verses an expensive hospital room? A single room at BKK hospital is over 3000 BHT a night. My friend was in there. Though he could be in a group room with others. Sincerely, Good luck to him and his family getting him home and healthy again.

Posted by Mr. John on July 14, 2012 07:10


Like so many tourists from both Australia and New Zealand this person is obviously not responsible. It is everyone else's fault and his government should wipe his little bottom, blow his nose and pay for every thing. Alternatively he can take some responsibility for his own actions, pay his bills and go home or does he think health care is free everywhere and that doctors and nurses do not need to be paid.

Posted by Arthur on July 15, 2012 07:33


So ED! Why did you allow the publishing of a comment that slanders a whole country of people by some twit who obviously has his head up his own backside. I am an Australian and I don't appreciate you allowing insultive and flaming comments insulting a whole country of people due to the wrong doings of an individual. You printed a comment from Arthur (July 15) who is so gutless that he cannot even announce his nationality which probably has as many idiots as we do who travel, but there is no excuses for allowing a comment slandering a whole country of people. When I travel I take responsibility for all of my own actions and hold myself to blame if I am not covered against accidents etc, so that is a direct conflict against your publishing of idiot Arthurs comments. How pathetic you allow such a slanderous comment against Australians who pump so much money into the Phuket ecconomy over the years. In fact you choice to print his comment is a direct insult and a disgrace to your profession in allowing a comment regarding one individual to slander a whole counrty of people. Where's Arthur from? I bet there are some good and valid slanderous remarks we can make about his people and country, but he was too gutless and hides behind his email.

Posted by alby on August 8, 2012 05:56

Editor Comment:

Are you talking about Arthur from Darwin? Perhaps you need to understand, alby, that we tend to prevent people from generalising about other countries, but if it's their country, they are free to criticise, within reason. Most Aussies are not as thin-skinned as you appear to be. Perhaps you've been away too long. Or perhaps you need to get out more.

Wednesday August 17, 2022
Horizon Karon Beach Resort & Spa


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