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Phuket Police Commander Major General Pekad with one of the Australians

Tuk-Tuk Tit-for-Tat: Knifed Aussies Fly Off Phuket to Beat Charge

Tuesday, March 1, 2011
FIVE young Australian tourists caught a scheduled flight out of Phuket last night amid concern they could face a counter-charge from a Patong tuk-tuk driver that would force them to spend several weeks more on the island.

Two of the Australians had been badly knifed and beaten in an attack by a gang in Patong early on Saturday.

The danger of a counter-charge was real. Australian honorary consul Larry Cunningham was shown a yellow tuk-tuk in the grounds of Patong's Kathu Police Station on Sunday and told that the owner-driver wanted to pursue a case for recovering cash to repair the vehicle's kicked-in front.

The Australian group was fortunate to be able to fly out given that one of them had been knifed in the chest and initially needed treatment in an intensive care unit. The second wounded man sustained a knife slash to his right forearm.

The young Sydney men, who preferred to remain anonymous, flew out maintaining their innocence of generating any problem that led to the attack on them.

They say a gang of 14 to 15 men attacked them from behind at a roti stall as they bought pancakes about 4.30am on the walk from a nightclub to their resort.

Some attackers poured from a red tuk-tuk, other on foot joined in, the Australians later told police.

The men, who were enjoying their holiday until that moment, said that it may have been that the tuk-tuk gang confused them with other expats.

Police confirmed on Sunday that a charge against the five men was coming and that they would probably be kept on Phuket until the case was resolved. But the Aussies flew out as scheduled.

Phuket Police Commander Pekad Tantipong visited the wounded pair in hospital on Saturday to offer his condolences. Hopes of apprehending any of the attackers are slim, given the men say they could not identify anyone.

Counter-charges can be serious. Tourists accused of crimes can be detained on Phuket for long periods, incurring extra expenditure, paying extra legal and accommodation fees, and even losing jobs and their housing back home.

One Australian, accused of stealing a pair of sunglasses, recently headed home having spent time in jail, being delayed on Phuket for six weeks, and having incurred extra costs just short of a million baht.

The Australians in the latest assault were distraught over their experience. And it could even be that the man alleging that the group attacked his tuk-tuk was not involved in seeking violent revenge.

Seven young women who had been enjoying travels in Thailand with the group of five men from Sydney's St George district headed home on Friday.

The ripple effect of bad publicity from the incident will cost Phuket dearly.

The losses that will be incurred in tourism traffic if the day comes when a visitor dies in an incident such as this one will be huge.

Fisticuffs are bad enough but the use of knives and a stab wound to the chest amount to attempted murder.

In January last year, Canadian Ivan Bob Anwar, 51, says he was punched five times by a tuk-tuk driver in a dispute over a fare, and later the tourist needed five stitches.

The tuk-tuk driver launched a counter-charge and Mr Anwar only flew out to Hong Kong after being fined 1000 baht for being impolite.
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Comments

Comments have been disabled for this article.

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So, this guys Tuk tuk was damaged because he was fighting 5 men with a knife? Or was the tuktuk driver just an innocent and watched 15 men attack the Tourists?
Either way, the guy is a witness to what happened so therefore should be charged or questioned about who did what.
Justice.... is there a Thai word for this?

Posted by Tbs on March 1, 2011 21:05

Editor Comment:

No. There isn't necessarily any connection between the damage to the yellow tuk-tuk and the stabbing at the roti stall. The ''guy'' isn't a witness to anything.

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If there isn't any connection between the damage and the stabbing, why would 1) they face charges and 2) even get attacked.

The whole story implies that the tuktuk drivers who attacked them at least believed they were responsible for the damage.

Posted by LivinLOS on March 1, 2011 21:41

Editor Comment:

We don't imply anything: readers draw conclusions. And you draw more than most.

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But surely the tuktuk drivers 'believe' the Aussies to be responsible.. Hence they attacked them.

A clear connection. The idea they did it (rightly or wrongly) to the lynch mob actions of the drivers.

Posted by LivinLOS on March 1, 2011 23:42

Editor Comment:

No evidence. Nobody they can identify. So, no established connection.

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Is there a connection between this and Aussies stealing beermats and sunglasses? Perhaps it's Karma?

Posted by dan on March 2, 2011 05:50

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if there's no connection then how can it be a counter charge?? if there was no connection surely it would be a separate charge.

Posted by another steve on March 2, 2011 08:18

Editor Comment:

''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.'' The Aussies were clearly attacked, but by whom? They can't say. And there is no evidence that they were the ones who kicked in the tuk tuk. Counter-charge is the clearest way to describe it - even though there is no established connection.

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I have been here for more than 15 years, don't use tuk tuks or jet ski and beside from having received a few key scratches at my car when parked in the "wrong" place then never had any problems, so I guess I am a happy customer..;-)

Posted by Bjarne on March 2, 2011 08:26

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Ed, you are really an hypocrite, you know perfectly how all these stories happened with those Thai crooks but you don't want to admit it.

Posted by Jean-Paul Patrick on March 2, 2011 09:32

Editor Comment:

Ah, so now we're hypocrites. And according to other intellectuals among our readers, corrupt, unprofessional, and responsible for almost all the ills that assail Phuket. You seem confused, Jean-Paul, about what constitutes journalism. If you want fantasy, find yourself a chat room and drown yourself in gossip and lies. Make it up as you go along, Jean-Paul. Amuse yourself.

Here, we only deal with facts. Sorry.

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"Ah, so now we're hypocrites."

The royal "we"?

Posted by dan on March 2, 2011 10:54

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Ok, maybe you don't go out to often or are at the wrong place all the time, but after 17 years here, the facts as you said, I saw them almost every days and it does not amuse me to see the situation deteriorate over time on this island.

Posted by Jean-Paul Patrick on March 2, 2011 11:09

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Ed is not hypocrite.
He is a resident and he well know the power of the tuk-tuk m****.
Before was courageous, but ... everybody like to still alive ...

Posted by Henry on March 2, 2011 11:50

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These counter charges seem a little too convenient. Seemingly designed to make the main charge go away. Worked with the Canadian, and now with this group. They seem to the only allegations that get investigated and get to court. Stab someone, find a pranged vehicle, complain and there it is, an excuse for mob thuggery. And, in the eyes of the law (unbiased?), that becomes the main incident!

Posted by Terry on March 2, 2011 14:24

Editor Comment:

If there are two breaches of the law by parties involved in a single dispute, it seems logical to take both into account. The charge and counter-charge is the Thai system. In the west it would be more likely for just one charge to be laid for the most serious offence, and the responding action taken into account when apportioning the penalty. The case against the unidentified knife-wielders required the Australians to sign the police report before an investigation could be undertaken. I don't think anyone rated the kicking-in of the tuk-tuk as more serious than the stabbings. But there appears to have been the chance that the tuk-tuk kicking case could have gone ahead against the Australians if they'd signed, even though they professed no knowledge of it.

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"I have been here for more than 15 years, don't use tuk tuks or jet ski and beside from having received a few key scratches at my car when parked in the "wrong" place then never had any problems, so I guess I am a happy customer..;-)" You think getting your car scratched is acceptable? This makes you a 'Happy customer'. They get away with small crimes like this and do not know where to stop, it escalates to things like knife attacks. Cowardly knife attacks, always gangs out numbering their victims. What credible witness does the yellow tuk tuk driver have? It is similar with the jet ski 'damage', gangs of uneducated, drugged up thugs ripping off, or attacking innocent people for non existent, or previously created 'scratches'. These **** are not as forgiving as Bjarne.

Posted by Sandy Shores on March 2, 2011 14:32

Editor Comment:

Let's keep this in proportion. As the British ambassador noted this week on Phuket, most tourists come and go without problems. Expats can live contentedly on Phuket for decades without seeing an incident involving violence. Live in Patong, ride jet-skis, hang out in bars and nightclubs, and your chances of running into a problem sooner or later escalate dramatically. The Australians declined to pursue the case against their attackers by signing a police statement because it was in Thai. A few weeks earlier, a British woman rejected the opportunity to name Swedish and Thai men she said had raped her. Alarmingly, these two cases mean there are men loose on Phuket who certainly wield knives in fights, and others who are probably gang-bangers, and possibly rapists. In this Phuket is just like many other places, but it's sad to have to report that the incidence of violent crimes in which the perpetrators are not caught and punished appears of late to be on the rise on Phuket.

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(moderated)

Posted by DAVE on March 2, 2011 21:09

Editor Comment:

Try Thai Visa, DAVE. They go along with all the baseless, unproven theories. You'll find lots of people who agree with you, too. No need for logic or evidence! You'll love it!

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To me this looks very clear. Tuk tuk m**** and any one else in Thailand can use counter charge that takes a long time (never heard of quick trials here?????) to make foreigners drop their charges, give up and go home and hate Phuket forever. Nice work. Always people are shooting themselves in the foot and wonder why it hurts... "we used to make 3000 baht per day before now only 300 baht" to quote a tuk tuk in the quarrel outside Centara Karon hotel. They go on and think they are untouchable. Maybe so. Sadly yes.

Posted by Hockey on March 2, 2011 23:43

Editor Comment:

The killer who knifed a German man outside a Phuket 7-Eleven last year was in jail serving his sentence within months. Is that fast enough for you?

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"Let's keep this in proportion. As the British ambassador noted this week on Phuket, most tourists come and go without problems. Expats can live contentedly on Phuket for decades without seeing an incident involving violence. Live in Patong, ride jet-skis, hang out in bars and nightclubs, and your chances of running into a problem sooner or later escalate dramatically. The Australians declined to pursue the case against their attackers by signing a police statement because it was in Thai. A few weeks earlier, a British woman rejected the opportunity to name Swedish and Thai men she said had raped her. Alarmingly, these two cases mean there are men loose on Phuket who certainly wield knives in fights, and others who are probably gang-bangers, and possibly rapists. In this Phuket is just like many other places, but it's sad to have to report that the incidence of violent crimes in which the perpetrators are not caught and punished appears of late to be on the rise on Phuket."

Oh, glad to see that you start to grow up and look around the f***ing mess in Phucket!

I realized this years ago - as mentioned a few times - and moved away from this "Grim Reapers Place"...

So you must be the standard mid 30ish farang who so **** desperately wants (and I cannot grasp why oh why..) wants to stay on this s**** little Island, and in the process sells his soul for a pimping job like this online pamphlet!

"The Royal We" - someone so precicely put it... Get down from your high horse, you??re not on a mission, these (moderated)

Posted by BOM on March 3, 2011 01:18

Editor Comment:

BOM, it's time you stopped taking your lead from John Galliano. Your racist outbursts are disgraceful. You're obsessed with yourself. Learn how to conduct a conversation without cursing and without hate, and you may get another hearing. Until then . . . bye bye BOM

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Ed....would it be possible for you to do an interview with the Head of the Tuk Tuk group...Khun Prab Keesin?...I would imagine that he has concerns for maintaining a successful tourist industry here. Would like to know his take on this and what his plans are to clear the air on this and to see to it that it doesn't happen again

Posted by sky on March 3, 2011 17:34

Editor Comment:

As President of the Patong Taxi Federation, Khun Prab has brought many of the drivers together and given guidance on proper behavior. But there is no way he can control all individuals, and the people involved in this incident may not even be members of the federation. As the culprits remain unidentified, there is no evidence that it was even tuk-tuk drivers. He would be as disturbed as everyone else is by this violence.

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Me and my friends are planning a holiday on Phuket soon and in preparation I also have been reading on your website. This article particularly raised the question among us if its safe to go out drinking and having fun in Patong. Some guys have suggested bodyguards for the night. A security company offered $250-500 per day. Do you think this is necessary and would it help in a bad situation?

Posted by visitor on March 4, 2011 12:25

Editor Comment:

Hello visitor,
Thousands of people visit Phuket and only a very small number have problems of any kind. The incidents we have reported, although troubling, are relatively rare. The US Navy continues to visit without incidents. Make sure you have travel insurance, avoid jet-skis, never use insulting language and be careful if you're out really late. To have bodyguards would be extreme and, based on the chances of trouble, an expensive and unwarranted precaution.

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Thanks for your advise editor. The cost wouldn't be the problem. We're all in our early forties, well-off and not out for trouble, but we have stressful jobs and just want to relax and have some fun. This usually involves alcohol and some of us can get a bit, hmm how to say, well loud and making jokes. Not in a mean way, but you know saying stuff to people thinking its funny (while it might not be). When we do that in Hong Kong it usually is not a big deal, maybe some other guys will tell you to shut it and then we walk away or say sorry or both. I'm just worried it would be very unrelaxed thinking the whole time we have to watch every word we're saying to a Thai guy and one moment him smiling at us the other moment stabbing us in the back. So we thought having a Thai professional security expert with us more like a babysitter to faciltate if someone got a sarcastic comment wrong it would help us to drink relaxed without constant fear that someone might be offended or gets a stupid comment wrong. We wouldn't use tuk tuks anyways as our villa comes with a driver we can use all night. Its just after reading about some things here on phuketwan it seems that Thais on Phuket seem more sensitive with typical tourist behavior and more easily get violent with the use of weapons? In BKK we felt very safe and didn't have any problems. Would seem odd that the big city is safer than a holiday destination by the beach where we expect people to be very relaxed and used to tourists with sometimes drunking stupid behavior. We just don't want to get stabbed or beaten up for letting off some steam.

Posted by visitor on March 4, 2011 14:08

Editor Comment:

Trouble is unlikely to come your way on Phuket and there are plenty of alternatives for having fun on the island. There's certainly a holiday atmosphere: very casual, relaxed. The vast majority of locals are good-natured and extremely hospitable. Attacks and stabbings are rare: we hope they become rarer. If you have transport provided by the villa, and if you are a little bit older than 20-somethings, the chances of anything unexpected happening are even slimmer. Phuket is just as safe as Bangkok or any other friendly Thai destination. Enjoy your holiday.

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Any reason why my last post in response to visitors post, and your reply wasn't published?

Posted by Chalongian on March 13, 2011 02:41

Editor Comment:

None of your comments have not been published.


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