Police officer Somchote Suksawat and a friend shared a meal and a drink at the Chor Ka Cher restaurant, near the intersection of Phang Nga Road and Surin Road, (close to the Mazda and Honda retail outlets) and had a disagreement with four men at a nearby table.
When the policeman headed off into the night about 11.30pm, the other men followed, Officer Somchote later told colleagues.
The four men then used bottles and sticks to beat the officer. As the altercation became serious, officer Somchote noticed one of the men was carrying a gun so he drew his own weapon and fired.
Somsak Keawsrisom, 41, the main antagonist, was hit three times in the legs and once in the chest as officer Somchote fired six bullets.
''I fired to defend myself,'' said officer Somchote. ''I was aiming to wound him, not to kill him.''
Khun Somsak was being treated in Vachira Phuket Hospital today as police continued inquiries into the shooting.
Officer Somchote is based at Phuket City Police Headquarters. The shooting comes after two handgun assassinations last week triggered increased concern about the prevalence of weapons on Phuket.