Bangkok Post – Phuket governor condemns New Zealand brothers who assaulted cop

PHUKET: The Phuket governor condemned the New Zealand brothers who attacked a traffic policeman and stole his pistol on Saturday, saying their serious violation of Thai law is completely unacceptable.

“Such an attack, no matter whether it happens to our officials or [ordinary] people, is intolerable,” Phuket governor Sophon Suwannarat told a press conference at the Phuket provincial police office on Monday.

He was addressing the case of two New Zealanders who attacked a traffic policeman after he pursued them following a traffic violation on Saturday.

“The behaviour was improper and illegal… It sets a very bad example in a tourist province like Phuket… Serious action will be taken to protect the tourism atmosphere of Phuket… Visitors and Thai people in Phuket must be safe,” the governor said.

Phuket authorities would inform the New Zealand embassy in Bangkok that their citizens had seriously violated the law, Mr Sophon said.

At the press conference, Phuket police chief Pol Maj Gen Sinlert Sukhum gave a full account of the incident. He said that Hamish Day, 34, and Oscar Day, 36, rode their rented motorcycles dangerously fast past the Chalong police station on Chaofa (West) Road in Muang district at 4.10pm on Saturday, without using the left lane as required by the traffic law.

Pol Sen Sgt Maj Somsak Noo-iad, on duty in front of the police station, ordered them to stop but they ignored him. The policeman then pursued the two tourists and simultaneously sought a backup team via radio.

The visitors later stopped in front of an eatery on Chaofa (East) Road. The policeman told them that they had violated traffic law for resisting his stop order. The policeman also asked for their driving licences.

At this point, the New Zealanders offered a bribe but the policeman rejected it and told them to pay their fine at the police station.

In response, they walked towards their motorcycles with an apparent intention to escape. Pol Sen Sgt Maj Somsak then used his mobile phone to take their pictures.

The brothers then became enraged. One of them attacked the policeman, wrestled him to the ground and tried to take his gun.

During the struggle, the gun was fired once but no one was hit.

The attacker who immobilised the policeman was a large, strong mixed martial arts fighter, the Phuket police chief said. He eventually seized the gun and handed it to his brother.

The backup team arrived a few minutes later and prevented the incident from escalating further.

The New Zealanders’ tourist visas were revoked and they would be blacklisted, Pol Maj Gen Sinlert said.

They were charged with robbery, obstruction of a policeman on duty, assault on a policeman, attempted bribery and driving without a licence.

Pol Col Ekarat Plaiduang, chief of the Chalong police station, said Pol Sen Sgt Maj Somsak’s fingers were slightly injured and suffered bruises elsewhere. He received official compensation and special financial support from his colleagues and supervisors.

A vehicle rental firm would be fined 2,000 baht for renting motorcycles to people without a driving licence, he said.

SOURCE: Bangkokpost.com : Thailand   (go to source)
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