The American, Steve Cho, 27, was taken into custody by airport security late last Thursday night (Jan 4) after his bizarre behaviour was brought to their attention. At first apprehensive to take him into custody, a total of six officers were finally forced to physically restrain Cho as he had failed to respond to requests from the security team.
Excessive force was not used, airport security said in a public statement issued on Sunday (Jan 7) in response to a deluge of comments posted after videos of the incident went viral online. (See story here.)
Airport security also noted in their statement that Cho had confessed to overdosing on “sex drugs”, and that he had defecated on the carpet in front of the toilets near the baggage check in the Departure Hall – and tried to throw it at airport staff and other passengers.
However, Sakoo Police Chief Col Jirasak Seamsak told The Phuket News late yesterday (Jan 10) that he had handed pills recovered from Cho’s belongings to staff at Thalang Hospital, who he said dismissed the pills as only “sleeping medication”.
Hospital staff did not clarify specifically which drug the pills contained, Col Jirasak added.
“After the American tourist calmed down, police found some pills among his clothes,” Col Jirasak said.
“I can confirm that his behaviour was not from the effects of sex drugs, as published in the press. We sent some of the pills to Thalang Hospital and doctors there confirmed that they were only sleeping pills, but said they were quite potent,” he explained.
The Phuket News was directed to contact Thanyathiya Leenanon, a laboratory technician at Thalang Hospital, to identify which pills were found, but she was unavailable at the time.
“Regardless, the man obviously had some sort of mental breakdown. We did not charge him and he boarded a flight out of Phuket with his friends on Friday (Jan 5),” Col Jirasak confirmed.
“No charges were pressed as the airport said they would take care of the cleaning bill for the carpet themselves,” he added.