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Jack Cole points to the worst of half-a-dozen knife and machete wounds

I Feared Gang Was Intent on Rape, Says Badly Stabbed, Slashed British Tourist

Thursday, October 25, 2012
PHUKET: A British tourist told tonight how he fought off a knife and machete gang in Krabi because he thought they wanted to rape his girlfriend - and praised another British man who saved his life.

Jack Daniel Cole, 21, displayed his multiple stab wounds to Phuketwan as he recovered in a hospital on Phuket and said: ''I've been to hell and back.''

Mr Cole and his girlfriend, April Clifton, also 21, were attacked by the gang in Ao Nang, a popular Krabi tourist destination, about 11pm on Monday night.

''We had spent three nights in Bangkok and planned to spend 10 nights in Krabi,'' Mr Cole said from his bed at the Bangkok Hospital Phuket in Phuket City.

He has half-a-dozen knife wounds and a savage slash to the side of his face - probably inflicted by a machete - that required more than 30 stitches.

The worst of the knife wounds plunged eight centimetres into his shoulder, cutting tendons and piercing muscle. It will be six weeks, doctors say, before he can remove a sling and months before he can return to the gym.

But he and April are alive.

''All I can do is guess what they wanted,'' Mr Cole said tonight. ''But they did not want my wallet.

''When three of them chased after April, I chased after them. I managed to fight off the ones who surrounded me.

''I didn't know that I'd already been stabbed five or six times. They told me later that the blow to my head was probably from a machete.''

Another Brit who manages a dive shop and happened to be at a bar nearby staunched the massive bleeding, helped Mr Cole to Krabi Hospital, and ''saved my life, basically.''

The gang of five youths and two girls had gone past Mr Cole and Ms Clifton on their motorcycles - mopeds Mr Cole calls them - then doubled back and passed again, a little slower.

''We really weren't expecting it,'' Mr Cole said tonight. ''The first I knew was when a lump of concrete hit me in the back.

''Then I fought as hard as I could. When I saw that three of the males were chasing off after April, I took off after them. I was desperate to protect her.''

The slash and stab wounds down his right side show how desperate someone was to stop him.

If things had turned out differently, peaceful tourist destination Krabi could have had a murder to deal with.

As it turned out, Krabi police are still hunting members of the gang. They may have already arrested three of them.

Ms Clifton and her father, Clive, were travelling from Phuket to Krabi today to obtain the police incident statement that the couple will need to activate their travel insurance.

April's father was on a flight from Britain to Phuket as soon as he heard what had happened. And it was a wise thing.

''April is still feeling the effects of the attack,'' Mr Cole said. ''She found herself in trouble just walking down a street. So it's a good thing her father came to help.''

He says the reaction from resort staff, from the tour agents, from British honorary consul for Phuket, Martin Carpenter, from Tourist Police and others has been ''just wonderful.''

More lighting has even been installed along the walk the couple took after dinner in Ao Nang, back to catch the boat at the pier for their five-star resort.

Two Phuket City policemen dropped by as we talked tonight, making a courtesy call and anxious to not have the tourists' view of Krabi and Phuket entirely painted as full of gangs and bad people.

However, Mr Cole's wounds are alarming. Had he not fought off the attackers, it's difficult to know what might have happened.

It's not the first savage attack inflicted on tourists in Krabi this year. Other visitors have been raped.

Another, a young German tourist, had her thumb cut off in a brazen attack in Krabi Town. Apparently attacks are not as rare as tourists are led to believe.

Here's how the man who probably saved Mr Cole's life reported it on a chat room:

With high season approaching, In Ao Nang. I fear that another tourist death is imminent. Gangs of teenage kids, armed with knifes and machetes roam the roads like something out of a Hollywood horror movie. Where are the police ? Where are the lights, I know this is a long term problem in Ao Nang as it's been my home for six years. I would like to inform you, about my encounter last night. Around 10.50 pm, While sitting in a quiet bar in the Nopparattara national park, next to the pier. A man and his girlfriend approached me asking me to help them. At first I just thought they wanted directions or something, when I saw them in the light. Then I realised they needed life saving help, with the man's head pumping blood like a fountain... I shouted to a friend to call the rescue service, the wound to the head was around 4 inches in length and skull exposed. On further inspection to his body, I found deep stab wounds . . . After we had stopped most of the blood flow the rescue guys came,Thank God.In all my life, I have never witnessed any like this, and I've been around somewhat....While we were trying to stop the blood and reassuring the man I had chance to talk to his girlfriend, about what had led to the attack. They were walking from Ao Nang beach, to the Nopparattara Pier to catch a speedboat back to their resort. At 11.30pm. After a nice meal they thought better to walk, as they had plenty of time. Just 1 minute before the pier, they were approached by 4 boys and 3 girls . . . No exchange of words, then the boys started to lob bricks and stones, hitting them many times, suddenly the boys ran towards them, pushing the girl to the ground. On this, the man tried to help his girlfriend up. While he was down they repeatedly struck him with a machete and stabbed him. WTF is wrong with this place!!! I accompanied the girl to the Krabi Hospital where I witnessed the same old story. You pay or no treatment. The resort where they were staying kindly brought his and hers passports, money and the life saving Insurance doc. I've been in contact since and they are both doing fine. With the uk embassy helping them as well. After reading their facebook page and seeing how excited they were. Only 3 days to go 2 days to go then tomorrow off to paradise...Well some Paradise its turned out to be!!!!....I hope the cctv will help catch these little cowardly thugs . . . A very upset/shocked and pissed off Mr Huw.


Comments have been disabled for this article.


Well done that man. What is wrong with the youth of Thailand? They used to be so friendly. I suspect drugs played an important part in this vicious cowardly attack

Posted by Mick.s on October 25, 2012 21:34


Excelent article...and kudos to all that helped this couple.I hope this is not an omen for the up-coming season...

Posted by Ted Davis on October 25, 2012 22:09


Ao Nang, is seemingly a lovely quiet little town, locals and business people should be very concerned about this. Im stunned, if robbery wasn't the motive, it seems like just premeditated violence. With 3 girls in the group it doesn't sound like rape was their intent , but then who knows. And what made them stop. I hope they catch all of them.

Posted by carvets on October 26, 2012 03:22


doesnt sound like safety zone to me when machete-gangs "patrol" the street

Posted by bennie on October 26, 2012 03:23


They are lucky to be alive, that guy being in good condition helped a lot, I'm sure. I would never have expected something like this to happen in Ao Nang, I always felt very safe there. Maybe in Pattaya or certain areas of Phuket, I would expect this kind of senseless violence. I guess that times are changing.

Posted by fw on October 26, 2012 05:18


@ Mick.s....mate your statement is mostly correct ..but to be 100% correct just change the word "Thailand" to "the world".
Its a fact worldwide, sadly.

Posted by davidj949 on October 26, 2012 08:51


I have been to Ao Nang many times over the years. It is a wonderful place to chill out..but I have never ever seen any police out and about at night..why is that?

Posted by kiwitezza on October 26, 2012 10:59


The couple are very lucky to be alive. These youths need to be caught and mad an example of. Great work by the guy to help them. This could happen anywhere in the World nowadays. Wrong place wrong time. Its a shame.

Posted by chaseone on October 26, 2012 12:18


I would have never thought this to happen in Krabi (I have had only good experiences there myself).. You hear about it everyday from Pattaya and every other from Phuket. Once the tourists are gone the kids will have to learn how to farm.

Posted by Jason on October 26, 2012 13:30


davidj949 - I wonder how many of your elders said that in your younger days?

Posted by Joel M on October 26, 2012 13:38


@..davidj949 - I wonder how many of your elders said that in your younger days?

Posted by Joel M o

Probably just as many as do so now...doesn't alter what i said...Its not just a Thailand problem!...Its worldwide...yes?

Posted by davidj949 on October 26, 2012 15:38


I was down in Krabi(Ao Nang) a couple of years ago and felt very intimidated after dark by groups of young thai men, one evening we had to run back to our room for safety, we did not provoke them in anyway they were just after trouble

Posted by Harry on October 26, 2012 16:23


If you want to reduce risk to the minimum don't go out after dark in Thailand and to reduce risk even further don't holiday in the country.

Posted by thag on October 26, 2012 20:45


there you go editor. what i said is right. in pattaya, phuket, krabi, bangkok, there are gangs of youth they commit crimes like that above. it`s clear that there is a real danger to get involved with this guys and it`s easy to find them in phuket city as well. i saw just recently how a gang of youths beat and kick 2 young schoolboys and nobody around (thais) would stop that. there is clear more crimes in thailand. but the police makes a cover up and not collect all figures or make them look good.

Posted by mike on October 26, 2012 22:09

Editor Comment:

I read just this week about gangs of A-level students who fought at Victoria Station in London at peak hour and one students was knifed to death. No Londoners intervened. And then there was the New York policeman who planned to cook and eat a woman. Sounds to me like London and New York are places nobody should ever go, mike, even in daylight.


Greater London and New York have a population of 10 to 15 million and cover an area many times that of Ao Nang / Krabi.

I understand the point but the comparison is ridiculous. Compare towns of equal size and populace to be fair.

Posted by Andrew on October 27, 2012 08:55

Editor Comment:

Nonsense. The argument is that the same kinds of incident occur all over the developed world. It's up to you to prove the dangers are greater on Phuket and in Krabi. You can't, because if anything, they're safer places. Being in the wrong place at the wrong time happens everywhere.


in the past the thai culture and the strong believe in buddha did prevent such crimes and such attacks. but it is very clear that the youths in thailand are now a other caliber. parents not caring what they doing and the buddha and thai culture is on the move back. in pattaya there are gangs they control streets and parts of the city. just read the newspaper there !

Posted by mike on October 27, 2012 19:56

Editor Comment:

Perhaps it's the Pattaya newspapers you should be addressing. We wouldn't be inclined to draw too many conclusions from what we read in newspapers.


Every city has it's seedy parts. Go down Tremont Ave, Bronx in NYC and your chances of being attaced are infintely higher than on Park Avenue. Try Compton and Beverly Hills in LA.

The British couple was walking along Ao Nang beachfront road, comparable to Park Ave or Knightsbridge.

They were in the most visible and best regarded area of Ao Nang, not in the seedy squatter areas way back.

If you wish to ignore pure numbers and statistical facts, then please at least consider relatively equal areas of such locations.

The fact that no-one intervened in the attack in London you quote is however very disturbing and admittingly similar to Thailand.

Posted by Andrew on October 27, 2012 22:47


Does the punishment *ever* fit the crime in this place?

Posted by Harry Barracuda on April 20, 2014 17:56

Editor Comment:

Do you have some serious point to make, HB, or are you just out to show you can use asterisks and question marks?


Well stuff like this happens in western country's as well this is not unique to Thailand, I think that mans girl friend will love him for a long time and I bet it will build there relationship to be a very strong and wonderful thing. Peace

Posted by Andrew Ronayne on June 24, 2014 12:48


no robbery attempt....reads like a HATE crime. Hey this happens in our countries too!

Posted by bb on November 3, 2014 09:56

Thursday May 23, 2024
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