Airport managers cleared over ‘slapgate’

BANGKOK: The former general manager and ex-security chief of Don Mueang International Airport have been cleared of any wrongdoing in relation to the incident in which an airport security guard tried to assault a Chinese tourist last month.

By Bangkok Post

Friday 26 October 2018, 10:09AM

A mobile phone video showing the Don Mueang airport security guard assaulting the Chinese tourist went viral, but an investigation has cleared the two airport security commanders because they weren’t aware of the incident. Image: Screengrab

A mobile phone video showing the Don Mueang airport security guard assaulting the Chinese tourist went viral, but an investigation has cleared the two airport security commanders because they weren’t aware of the incident. Image: Screengrab

A report on the incident was tabled at the meeting of the Airports of Thailand Plc (AoT) board on Wednesday (Oct 24), according to a source at the company.

It concluded Wg Cdr Suthirawat Suwanawat, the former General Manager of Don Mueang airport, and the ex-security chief of the airport, had done nothing wrong, the source said, adding the pair was not involved in the incident.

Accordingly, the airport’s executives were not aware of the incident so it was impossible for them to deal with the problem at the time it occurred, the source said.

Because the case has become a big issue and hindered international relations, the AoT needs to improve its internal process of reporting incidents in airports, the source said.

The two executives had been suspended from duty for 30 days in the wake of the incident.

Wg Cdr Suthirawat was made the General Manager of Suvarnabhumi International Airport on Oct 1, but he has not been able to take up the new post while his suspension remains in effect, the source said, noting he was still working at the AoT’s headquarters.

According to the source, the security chief of Don Mueang airport has been transferred to Chiang Mai International Airport to work in the same position.

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Regarding the security guard at the centre of the altercation, the source said a panel has been set up to consider whether he committed a disciplinary violation, and no conclusion has been reached yet.

A decision is expected next month, the source said.

The incident happened inside Don Mueang airport’s immigration area, where the guard and the Chinese man argued before the guard shoved him and raised his hand, which looked as if he was about to hit the Chinese man in the face.

The man dodged the slap before another security officer intervened. The incident was filmed and shared online.

Authorities said the incident happened after the tourist was denied entry at the airport. However, Chinese news website CGTN said it occurred after the traveller refused to pay a B2,300 bribe.


Read original story here.



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Kurt | 26 October 2018 - 20:36:34

Real thai funny. Ex airport manager and ex security manager are cleared. First not yet appointed at Suvarnabhumi, 2nd transferred to C-M. About the real culprit security guard, no conclusion yet. May be next month. One can't make it up! That Chinese website report about a bribe of B2,300 shine another light on the affair. With bribes, always more officials involved. Painful decision making.

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