The incident occurred in the car park of the Khun Mae Ju store on Thepkrasattri Rd in Moo 5, Thepkrasattri yesterday afternoon, with the fight eventually broken up by a security guard and other people at the scene.
The man struck on the head with the axe, Chanon Pengthep, was taken to Thalang Hospital for his injury, and later transferred to Vachira Phuket Hospital in Phuket Town.
A video of the incident was posted online yesterday afternoon.
The two Phuket van drivers involved in the fight ‒ Nattapon Chaibutr, 43, from Sakhu, and Piya Limthareekul, 46, from Pa Khlok ‒ presented themselves at Thalang Police Station yesterday evening, confirmed Lt Col Kornphumphot Pongpaiboon, Chief of Investigation at Thalang Police Station.
The axe used in the fight was also presented, he added.
The drivers said they had never seen the man they were fighting with before the incident yesterday, Lt Col Kornphumphot said.
The incident started over “someone staring at each other’s faces”, he added.
Police are still investigating the fight, Lt Col Kornphumphot said.
Security guard Prasit Jai-in, 54, said that by the time he intervened the two Phuket van drivers were fighting against another man. One of the van drivers pulled a small axe out of his van and struck the third man, Chanon, with it, leaving Mr Chanon with a bleeding wound on his head.
It was not confirmed which part of the axe was used to hit Mr Chanon.
While the fight was taking place between two passenger vans, two tourists, both Thai, were sitting in one of the vans, Mr Prasit said.
After the men were separated the axe was tossed back into the van by the van driver who wielded it, he added.
Kornphithak Asanasuwan of the Phuket Land Transport Office (PLTO) said his office was investigating the incident.
However, the PLTO is reviewing the incident only in light of the public transport driver regulations, Mr Kornphithak said.
The PLTO is reviewing the drivers’ behaviour for the use of impolite language, whether the drivers were dressed appropriately and whether the drivers are properly licensed.
The PLTO will not be taking any action over any actual assault as that remained under the purview of criminal law, he confirmed.
Using “impolite speech” can incur a fine of up to B5,000 and not being “dressed politely” can incur a fine of up to B5,000, Mr Kornphithak said.
A public transport driver not carrying the correct licence can incur a fine of up to B40,000 or up to two years in jail, or both, he said.
“From watching the clip [posted online], it is not a competition for passengers in any way. It is a private quarrel,” he said.
“We have to ascertain what the actual cause was, which may lead to further legal action,” he said.