Diarrhoea claim runs out of legs
PHUKET: A Chinese tour group from Chengdu province have claimed that more than half their group suffered severe diarrhoea after eating at a Phuket restaurant and are now demanding compensation from their tour company.
Friday 3 February 2012, 06:15PM
The group told Chinese media – including major outlets Xinhua News Agency, Chengdu Daily and Sichuan News – that they were taken to hospital and were diagnosed with food poisoning.
However, representatives from the tour company Pacific Holiday (Thailand) Co Ltd and Thai Village Restaurant went to the Phuket Governor’s office today (February 3), claiming the media versions were misleading, and that the restaurant’s food was probably not the cause. They also claimed the group had tried to blackmail them.
The manager of Pacific Holiday, Lin Yong Wei, said the group booked a tour with the company between January 25-29.
On January 29, they were taken to have dinner at the Thai Village Restaurant in Rassada District. Eleven of the tourists reported having diarrhoea the next day.
Mr Yong Wei said his staff took the eleven to Patong Hospital, where three of them received treatment after being diagnosed with gastroenteritis.
But the doctor said that the diarrhoea may not have been caused by the restaurant’s food, as the symptoms showed up quite late.
The other eight left the hospital without seeing a doctor.
Later the group demanded compensation from the company – B10,000 for each of the 41 members of the group, including the ones who didn’t get sick.
Pacific Holiday advisor Phalat Juntarasopin said the group attempted to blackmail the company by saying that they would expose the story to Chinese media when they returned if they were not paid.
After negotiations, Mr Yong Wei decided to pay the group a total of B300,000, and did not charge for food or accommodation for the duration of their stay.
However, the group went ahead and reported the story to Chinese media anyway, and it was picked up by nine separate outlets.
“This ruins Phuket tourism,” said Mr Phalat. “We can’t allow the news to go around like this when the story is not true.”
Sales Manager of Thai Village Restaurant, Tira Hohum, said: “If it’s food poisoning, the symptoms should show up within four hours after having food.
“However, this group had diarrhoea after 12 hours. It therefore may not be correct to conclude that food in our restaurant is the cause.”
Gov Tri assured the representatives that he would contact Chinese authorities and media to clarify the story.