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The Phuket tourist allegedly bashed by the tuk-tuk driver is treated

Phuket Tuk-Tuk Driver Allegedly Beat Tourist With Bar Over Fare

Thursday, December 17, 2015
UPDATING All Day, Every Day

THE injured tourist is British and Patong police contacted British consular officials to help obtain a statement from him on Wednesday, Phuketwan has learned.

Original Report

PHUKET: A Phuket tuk-tuk driver assaulted a tourist in a dispute over a high fare in Patong, authorities have confirmed - but police have so far declined to reveal details.

A spokesman for Phuket Land Transport told Phuketwan that a ''very serious incident'' took place on Tuesday evening when a 25-year-old tuk-tuk driver beat up a tourist using a small iron bar.

The tourist's name has been revealed as Joseph William Damarell but his nationality has yet to become clear.

Mr Damarell required treatment at Patong Hospital for wounds to his left arm.

Tuk-tuk driver Sutam Samsri is alleged to have picked up Mr Damarell in beach road, Patong, about 4.30pm on Tuesday and taken him on a short journey of about five kilometres to Harsipbee Road where he demanded 1000 baht for the fare.

The driver allegedly refused to accept 300 baht, at one stage held the tourist's telephone then allegedly beat him before driving off.

Senior officers at Kathu Police Station appeared coy to talk about the incident today.

Often, settlements in fares disputes are mediated - but a serious alleged assault by a tuk-tuk driver requires charges to be laid and, if the charges are confirmed, an appropriate penalty.

The attitude of police in Kathu is reminiscent of a period several years ago when the tendency was to not report serious offences ''to protect Thailand's tourism industry.''

That approach changed when honorary consuls met with authorities and police regularly four times a year, but meetings are rarely held these days.

A recent parade in Soi Bangla by scores of authorities was designed to reassure tourists about the safety of Phuket.

But only with police who are prepared to release information in the proper way will Phuket's reputation be eventually restored and maintained as a safe and secure destination.

Ironically, a consuls' forum due to be held with the Governor of Phuket today was postponed to a date to be fixed.

Most of the initial information about the alleged assault emerged in Facebook posts.

Almost six years ago, Phuketwan published an article headlined: 'Will This Photo Give Phuket Real Public Transport?'

The photograph showed a Canadian tourist who had been beaten by a tuk-tuk driver after the man demanded 150 baht for a one-minute trip.

In response to the likelihood of a counter-suit by the driver, the case was settled in mediation.

There have been incidents involving disputes over excessive tuk-tuk fares since then, but fewer of them lately.


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