PHUKET: Karon Police yesterday arrested a taxi driver for threatening and assaulting a tourist with a piece of bamboo.
Narongsak “Petch” Kongsawat, 19, was arrested at the taxi rank in front of the Centara Grand Beach Resort, Phuket, at about 4:30pm.
“Police identified themselves, showed the arrest warrant and took Mr Narongsak to the police station for questioning over an incident on December 8,” Lt Col Sopon Borrirak of the Karon Police said.
Lithuanian tourist Arminas Macys, 41, alleged that on December 8 he was threatened by Mr Narongsak because he was taking a taxi that was not part of the rank in front of the resort.
“I had asked for hotel staff to call me a taxi, but there wasn't one available, so I walked out of the hotel to get a taxi about 50 meters away,” Mr Macys told police.
“While I was opening the taxi door, a man rushed me and started pulling on my arm, ordering me not to take the taxi. He also pointed to the taxi rank in front of the hotel and waved a piece of bamboo while threatening me,” Mr Macys said. “He told me I was an impolite person, and then started hitting me with the bamboo stick.”
Mr Narongsak has denied threatening and attacking Mr Arminas.
In light of the incident, Phuket Governor Maitri Inthusut asked that Karon Police take swift action against any taxi drivers who threaten or assault tourists.
“There are not many drivers threatening tourists, but those who are, are creating an enormous problem and affecting the image of all taxi drivers in Phuket. Police need to set an example, so they understand we are serious,” Governor Maitri said.