Aussie started the fight: taxi drivers
PHUKET: This afternoon, police called tuk-tuk drivers and Australian tourist Peter Hulands for questioning at the police station in Patong.
Friday 3 August 2012, 05:52PM
Although several of the tuk-tuk and taxi drivers present admitted being involved in beating up Mr Hulands, they insisted that the Australian started the fight, twice. (See earlier story here).
Taxi driver Chaiyan Rakwong told reporters he saw Mr Hulands’ partner, Karyn Connors, leaving Rock City, on the corner of Rat-U-Thit 200 Pi Rd and Soi Sansabai, followed shortly afterwards by Mr Hulands, who appeared irritated and drunk.
When one of a taxi drivers asked him if he wanted a taxi, Mr Hulands abused him, and the driver responded with similarly robust language.
Then, Mr Chaiyan alleged, the Australian grabbed the driver’s neck, and the driver punched him in the face.
After other people intervened and stopped the fight, Mr Chaiyan alleged, Mr Hulands walked back to Rock City and brought two friends with him back to the taxi rank and started another round of fighting, though the friends did not get involved.
At that point, Mr Chaiyan said, more than 10 drivers piled in and beat up the Australian.
But, he added, “I insist that no taxi driver made jokes about his girlfriend.”
Unfortunately, a CCTV camera close to the scene was not working. Police are now looking for other camera footage to see if they can nail down the truth about the incident.
The Superintendent of Kathu Police Station, Pol Col Jirapat Poachanapan, said this incident would be a good case study to support the need for more effective CCTV coverage of Patong.
Currently, there are 31 CCTV cameras in Patong installed by government departments, but only 14 are working.
“If the camera close by had been working, this case would have been sorted out a lot faster,” Col Jirapat said.
“We need to fix this problem as soon as possible. The improvement of CCTV camera [coverage] is now our top priority [for enhancing] our investigation system, and also as part of the Patong Safety Zone project.”