UPDATE: Mr Nava contacted The Phuket News directly this morning (Feb 5) with the folllowing message: "I feel like associating myself and being involved with the police publicly is not something I'm interested in. I was perfectly happy with the way my life was before this happened, and this also doesn't support the life I want to have. So for these and many other reasons, I have decided not to participate in the volunteer police program. I was simply trying to honor my friend who helped me and the apology from the police. I hope everyone understands. Please update your article."
Asked if the original intention was to be a volunteer just for one day, Mr Nava replied, "Yes. It was an agreement for them to try and make up to me and show what the police do in Patong. They offered for me to join the volunteers but after deep consideration I have decided it is not something I am interested in or want to be associated with. I was simply trying to honor the police chief and my friend (Thai lady) who went through the trouble to get the police to apologize."
The video clip, which has since gone viral, was recorded by the American, Luis Magdaleno Nava, 34, and shows him repeatedly asking the police officer, Capt Phirom Srisuwan, “Why you take B1,000 from me? Tell me, why?”
The video clip then shows Capt Phirom shouting “Bpai!” (go) pushing Mr Nava’s arm and then his phone that he was recording with as Nava repeats the question.
Patong Police Chief Col Anotai Jindamanee told The Phuket News that the incident happened on Sawatdirak Rd in Patong, near Sai Nam Yen School at about 3am on Sunday (Feb 3).
“Everything is fine, people make mistakes. We need to be kind and forgiving in society. Everything has been figured out,” Col Anotai assured.
“The main issue was miscommunication between a Thai policeman and an American tourist. It is normal that we might not understand everything that we say to each other,” he explained.
It was initially thought that Mr Nava was stopped for ‘ghost driving’ (driving on the wrong side of the road). However, Col Anotai explained that the dispute was not about ghost driving as Mr Nava was ordered to stop before he drove into a forbidden road.
“Capt Phirom was trying to explain to Mr Nava that he had to go to Patong Police Station when the misunderstanding occurred,” Col Anotai said.
“Both Mr Luis (Nava) and Capt Phirom understand how the misunderstanding happened. Mr Luis is a tourist who visits Phuket often and today began to volunteer for Patong Police. We welcome Mr Luis’ decision as we need more English speaking volunteers to help communicate with tourists and explain our traffic laws to them,” Col Anotai explained.
Mr Nava told The Phuket News today, “I admit that I turned on the wrong street by accident, however, I did not deserve to be hit. The police chief made an apology and offered me to be a volunteer to help and I accepted the offer.
“I appreciate Thai police efforts and everyone's understanding in this matter,” he added.