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Tourists near the Taipan nightclub in Patong, scene of the dispute

Phuket Tuk-Tuk Gang 'Bashed Irate German Senseless,' Says Police Report

Monday, August 29, 2011
PHUKET: A German man is in a coma at a Phuket hospital after allegedly being beaten senseless in a gang attack by tuk-tuk drivers in Patong on Thursday night.

Phuket's German honorary consul, Dirk Naumann, was informed of the alleged attack when a man entered his office and delivered a copy of a police report this morning.

The report alleges that the German, named as Kurt Trotnow, 53, was beaten by tuk-tuk drivers outside the Taipan nightclub in Rat-U-Tit 200 Pi Road, Patong, about 11.05pm on Thursday.

The police report says that Mr Trotnow was drunk and attacked the driver of the tuk-tuk first before he in turn was beaten and left senseless, lying in the roadway.

According to the report, bystanders took him to Patong Hospital. Ten patients had already been evacuated from Patong Hospital to Vachira Hospital in Phuket City on Thursday because of floods that engulfed much of Patong and other parts of Phuket through most of the day.

It is believed doctors at Patong Hospital sent Mr Trotnow on to Vachira Hospital. Phuketwan believes he was later transferred to Phuket International Hospital in Phuket City.

The report to police about the incident was made by Mr Trotnow's Thai wife, Jiraporn Chookhep, 30, and a relative who happened to be a witness, Lern Tongrod, 48.

Police in all Phuket police stations are obliged to report all incidents involving expat residents and tourists to the Phuket Police Commander, Major General Pekad Tantipong, who in turn notifies embassies or honorary consuls immediately.

It is not known why it took four days for news of the alleged beating to emerge, but all emergency services on Phuket were stretched by a downpour that caused massive flooding. Notification may have been overlooked.

The condition of Mr Trotnow is reported to be very serious.

Coincidentally, Major General Pekad was at a meeting today with tuk-tuk drivers in Kata-Karon, where an attempt is being made to lift standards of behavior and dress and agree on a new scale of fares.

In February tuk-tuk drivers in Patong were accused of beating up and stabbing two young Australians, one of them in the chest, in a case that Australian honorary consul Larry Cunningham later described as ''attempted murder.''

With the driver of a damaged tuk-tuk threatening a counter-suit, the two wounded Australians and three friends hurriedly caught a flight back to Sydney without making a statement to police.

More recently, tuk-tuk drivers blockaded Rat-U-Tit 200 Pi Road, an essential part of central Patong's one-way street system, in a dispute with police.

The blockade came because a policeman drew a gun in trying to bring peace as tuk-tuk drivers brawled with two young Dutchmen.

The Dutchmen had allegedly caused damage amounting to about 1000 baht to a tuk-tuk, but refused to pay. The Dutch pair also chose not to file a police report, although one man suffered a cut to the head.

Last week, following a warning from Major General Pekad, the four tuk-tuk drivers involved in the 1.40am blockade gave themselves up to Patong police.

Having been told that they can either admit their guilt and pay a fine or face a court hearing, the four drivers have yet to make a decision about their next course of action.

High tuk-tuk fares are the cause of most tourist complaints about Phuket. Local authorities have never sought to break the tuk-tuk monopoly on transport around the west coast of Phuket after dark.

Phuket's honorary consuls, due to meet with Phuket Governor Tri Augkaradacha this Wednesday as part of their ongoing three-monthly ''summits'', are likely to press for the immediate arrest of the tuk-tuk drivers involved in Thursday's incident.
Phuket Police Chief Says 'We Will Pursue Tuk-Tuk Attackers'
Latest Phuket's police commander says that Phuket police will pursue the attackers - allegedly tuk-tuk drivers - who beat a German senseless, but there were two sides to the incident.
Phuket Police Chief Says 'We Will Pursue Tuk-Tuk Attackers'

Phuket Tuk-Tuk Blockaders Consider Their Verdict
Latest Four tuk-tuk drivers, wanted over a street blockade in Patong, have surrendered to police but are now considering whether or not they should plead guilty and accept a fine.
Phuket Tuk-Tuk Blockaders Consider Their Verdict

Phuket Tuk-Tuk, Taxi Drivers to Pioneer 'Quality' Campaign
Latest Stickers are to be added to some approved taxis and tuk-tuks on Phuket to reassure tourists about safety and set prices, a Phuket vice governor has revealed.
Phuket Tuk-Tuk, Taxi Drivers to Pioneer 'Quality' Campaign

Phuket Jet-Skis: Aussie Video Warning
Breaking News An Australian Government department is making a video warning tourists about jet-ski rip-offs and other scams on Phuket following lack of action by local authorities.
Phuket Jet-Skis: Aussie Video Warning

Phuket Tuk-Tuk Brawl With Expats: Drawn Gun Triggers Patong Blockade
Latest Tuk-tuk drivers blockade Patong's ringroad throuoghfare after a policeman draws his handgun to try to bring an end to a brawl between the drivers and three expats.
Phuket Tuk-Tuk Brawl With Expats: Drawn Gun Triggers Patong Blockade

Tuk-Tuk Tit-for-Tat: Knifed Aussies Fly Off Phuket to Beat Charge
Latest Two stabbed Aussies and their friends have flown off Phuket as a threat emerged to charge them in return for damage to a yellow tuk tuk. The Aussies say they are innocent of provocation.
Tuk-Tuk Tit-for-Tat: Knifed Aussies Fly Off Phuket to Beat Charge


Comments have been disabled for this article.


1. have proper public transport as bkk/pattaya.

2. bring in bkk and the army to flush the toilet.

what ever the altercation was unless this tuk tuk operator was in a life threatening situation, which i really doubt, it is out of order.

gang on one, police standing very close to the area, and nothing being done. i sure hope the german consulate does not back down at all.

Posted by john on August 29, 2011 12:34


Even the guy's Thai wife reported to the police that he attacked the tuk-tuk driver first. This is the case in 90 percent of cases. The drunken and drugged-up expats assault the tuk-tuk drivers first, and who can blame them for retaliating. This is the kind of expat we need to get out of Thailand.

Posted by Nick on August 29, 2011 12:40


As the great baseball player Yogi Berra once said..."It's Deja Vu all over again!"

Does this now get classified as attempted murder? or will it be just another 1000 baht fine slap on the wrist?

Posted by sky on August 29, 2011 13:07


Doesn't Taipan have security cameras?

Posted by Tbs on August 29, 2011 13:15


It's been said before, it's just a question of time before someone will be killed. And then s*** will hit the fan.

Posted by Nick on August 29, 2011 13:40


As is usual, the tourist was in wrong. He started the fight, and I have seen it with my own eyes dozens of times, the tourist start arguing with the driver on the price and then the tourist kicks the tuk-tuk or worse slaps the driver, then the driver's friends react to defend him and it gets out of control. Tourists treat those drivers with no respect at all. The tourist ALWAYS starts it as according to what have seen so many many times at the evening when people are very drunken and act like idiots. Unfortunately Patong gets the worst of tourists in Thailand and sometimes I'm ashamed to be Italian as I see my own country's people give a bad image to my country acting like thugs towards Thais because they are filled with alcohol...

Posted by Luigi on August 29, 2011 15:10

Editor Comment:

The question is not who started it, but whether the reaction is appropriate, Luigi. A knife in the chest over a dented tuk-tuk? A stretch in a hospital ICU over a 200 baht fare?

The police have to be called to settle all disputes. Retaliation is taking the law into their own hands.



No shit will hit any fan..There will be some upset voices, the driver in question will move to some other province for a year maybe, and then it will all be back to normal again.

Posted by christian on August 29, 2011 15:11


I'm so glad that we don't use the 'M' word in relation to the tuk tuk cartel on Phuket, as the M**** is an organised crime syndicate, based on corruption, monopolies, backhanders to politicians and police, sharp pricing practises and protected by periodic outbreaks of violence and intimidation.

Oh, hang on...

On a snark-free note, very little can be said that hasn't been said already. 'Attempted murder' isn't just an Honorary Consul characterization of the previous incident - stabbing someone in the chest with a knife IS attempted murder.

As for the latest episode, it's just another Phuket incident that will echo round every corner of the message boards, travel sites and blogosphere, only presumably this time more loudly amongst German speakers. As I'm tired of saying, eventually Phuket will get the tourist industry it deserves. 5 star tourists will not put up with price gouging, violence and an unpleasant atmosphere.

But nothing will change, because some notable locals are doing very well out of the present arrangements. Full steam ahead. Steady as she sinks.

Posted by Doug on August 29, 2011 15:28


Just my 2 cents... People should try to see the world thru the eyes of the tuktuk guys. Imagine if to earn a living for your family you had to wait around on the street for hours for the prospect of earning 100 or 200 baht a time, competing against dozens of other guys doing the exact same thing, having to put up with verbal and at times physical abuse from drunk tourists from rich countries who can spend more money in a day than you can in a whole month, who are strutting around with the youngest most beautiful girls in your country, acting like they own the place in your own country and you're a powerless, second-class citizen in your country. Imagine the level of resentment these lowly tuktuk drivers must feel toward foreigners who in many respects have taken over Phuket and turned it into a sunnier, spicier version of Europe to the point where ordinary Thais can hardly afford to live anymore in their own country. So show a little respect toward the little guy who's only trying to put bread on his family's table and pay a fair fare without resorting to abuse and argumentation over a few baht. Show respect and you'll be respected in return too... Disrespect a Thai and is it any wonder his countrymen in the same line of work come to his defense? Step into their shoes and imagine if you had to do this thankless work day in day out. Just my 2 cents.

Posted by Scott on August 29, 2011 15:43


@scott lol your funny man!!!

Posted by poppop on August 29, 2011 16:31


@Scott. don't run away with the idea that Thai people are poor in Phuket they probably get a better living than a lot of Europeans, have a look around at the cars they're driving etc

Posted by Nick on August 29, 2011 16:47



I am guessing you are still wearing the rose tinted glasses.

Posted by Anonymous on August 29, 2011 16:51


Try to see it through the tuktuk driver's eyes... Here I am renting/leasing this vehicle from another national, being charged an arm and a leg plus there are too many of us, so the slice of the pie is very thin. I know that I am virtually powerless here against my boss and other upper level Thais, so when I see those non-Thai people spending money like the guy I rent from, it makes my blood boil. When one of those other people gets mouthy or too pushy, me and my compatriots will stomp him until he is half dead. Of course we could just surround him and hold him for the police, but that is not our way. 1 against 5 or 10 is the best way to ensure him a quick trip to the hospital. And of course we would never do this to our boss, that would be ill mannered.

Yeah... look at it through the eyes of the drivers.

Posted by Anonymous on August 29, 2011 16:51


@Nick.. You are very very right..!! We must get a look at the cars that many thais are actually driving in Phuket.. And thinking also that are 3 times more expensive than in Europe and that the medium salary in Thailand is 10 times less..

Posted by Dave on August 29, 2011 18:59


the tuk-tuk is phuket is very shame on, this guys very bad, also police scary from them, they beat german, later they fine 1000 baht and release. very bad image of phuket now.

Posted by michal on August 29, 2011 19:01


Some moneths agao I was looking for an apartment in Karon. I found one on a hill in a nice house, beautiful view. Can't remember how many apartments were in the house, WHICH BELONGS TO A TUK TUK DRIVER, asking THB 18 k a month for about 45 m2. Oh yes...poor tuk tuk drivers... BTW, I went for another place, not 1 cent to a tuk tuk driver, never !

Posted by Resident on August 29, 2011 19:05


hardy-har-har I needed a good laugh today

Posted by Anonymous on August 29, 2011 19:54


you don't know nothing if you say they are poor! i have in my wife's family tuk tuk drivers and they are not poor! what a stupid comment!

Posted by mike on August 29, 2011 20:55


I hope the German Ambassador will push the government in Bangkok to react after one of his country men is put in a coma at the hands of these thugs who are the law in patong. it's a disgrace.

Posted by Scunner on August 29, 2011 22:26


Here we go again...i hope all the posters contact their respective consulates with their comments/stories because that is the only way things will get done...from the top. I have been coming to Phuket for 16 years and have used a tuk-tuk only once and NEVER again. One night just up from ThaiPan i inadvertently placed an empty beer can on the back step of a tuk tuk and was lucky to get away with my life. My appologies were not enough and then they started to abuse my GF in thai and then i became upset...over an empty beer can!!!!

Posted by Tom on August 29, 2011 23:30


I have been living in Phuket for 5 years renting the same house for 20K / month.
Never got any problems with Tuk Tuks, perhaps because I never use their services.
But I can't agree with you that they are poor.

My neighboring 2 houses are owned by a Tuk Tuk driver. Estimated rent per month is at least 20K. He has 4 new cars always parked inside the house although he lives in another place.

In same area that i've been living, live
many Tuk Tuk families in simple rooms. Although they have at least a second car parked outside the room, normally a Toyota Vigo, Fortuner, Issuzu or any other brand with over 1M baht VALUE.

Posted by giveme5 on August 30, 2011 12:38


Is there nothing these thugs do that can't be excused or blamed on the tourists?

Posted by Peter Tudders on August 31, 2011 13:19


giveme5, I think you're paying over the odds for your house rental! I have a house on the edge of Phuket City, 6-year-old detached house, 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, huge kitchen, 2 living rooms, big gardens front and rear, very quiet upmarket street with doctors etc. living next door, 7000 baht a month. Been living there 3 years. They wanted 10,000 a month initially. My then Thai girlfriend (now wife) talked them down from 10,000 to 7000. Where are you living to pay 20,000 a month? For me 7000 baht a month is so cheap that I'd never consider buying. No rent increase in 3 years so far.

Posted by Scott on August 31, 2011 14:56


I have used tuktuks occasionally over the years only because if i want to get to kata from patong - there is no choice.

Last time was 400bt each way..around $25au return. This is close to the price of a taxi fare in Australia. But in Phuket you get no safety belts or registered drivers, You are thrown in the back of a ute and hang on for your life.

Years ago they would haggle a price, now its a flat rate or you don't go.

With so many stories of violence concerning drivers against passengers I wonder how they local business owners, hoteliers, travel companies and wealthy expats cannot pool their resources to overcome what is a local transportation problem.

Surely corruption in Phuket does not exist to the level where nothing can be done.

Posted by Carlos on September 1, 2011 10:58


Your aspirations for a better public transport situation in Phuket, especially in tourist areas ruled by tuk tuks is shared by so many, possibly by even the Governor himself, his predecessor and his also, back to year dot. However, none repeat none, or nobody else for that matter has brought about a single change. A lot of talk, but no results.

If any change is forthcoming I see it by the various foreign embassies joining together and issuing a travel warning. This will have a roll-on effect of travelers not being able to get insurance for their holidays and choose a different location.

I don't know how long you have lived here but many years ago, possibly 10 or more, a song-thew ( blue wooden body) bus service at 10 baht p.p. a sector ie; Kata Noi to Patong 30 baht, was established to service the west coast beaches as would make commonsense even then. Can't accurately remember, might have even been the first day, the driver encountered a road block, was pulled from his vehicle and beaten. The perpetrators of course were never apprehended ( how unusual ).

Posted by innocent bystander on September 2, 2011 15:15


What I don't quite understand is why nobody went to this German guy's aid? There are usually hundreds of tourists circulating around the corner of Bangla Road and Rat-U-Tit which is where Taipan is located at that time of night. Something like this will usually appear on Youtube within the hour, but that site seems to be devoid of anything vaguely resembling the incident. Very strange.

Posted by Xircal on September 3, 2011 18:44

Editor Comment:

Stranger to imagine someone brave or foolish enough to intervene, Xircal. Different it was one assailant. But a gang? Not human nature to step in.


Taxi Mafia attacked an innocent driver who was picking us up at Cape Sienna Hotel in Kamala Beach this afternoon, beating him and smashing his taxi with an iron bar, and then turning on me because I started saying stop, to try and help. their reaction to me and my wife was "F@#@ OFF TOURIST" This is a serious problem for tourism in Phuket, fix it now Mr Governor.

Posted by glenn on September 4, 2011 17:09

Monday December 4, 2023
Horizon Karon Beach Resort & Spa


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