They were called after someone noticed him driving around near the OrBorJor hospital with his big sound system cranked up, and with an axe in one hand.
“We saw him driving around the soi when we arrived. We were worried about neighborhood safety at that time,” said Col Sermphan Sirikong, superintendent of Phuket City Police, who led 20 police and rescue workers to the scene.
“We stopped his car and convinced him to get out. Then an officer took the car key and locked the car.”
The man spent the next two hours screaming at the police and at the car and trying to hack it open with his axe.
Police tried to get his attention and reason with him. When that did not work they shot him with a taser gun, but it had no perceptible effect. So they then shot him in the right arm with a rubber bullet.
It still took three police and two rescue workers to wrestle the well-muscled man to the ground. After tranquillising him, they strapped him to a stretcher and he was taken to the OrBorJor Hospital to be checked up and to see whether he was under the influence of narcotics.
Police questioned a relative who said that the axeman thought someone was following him and had not been able to sleep the night before.
“He is yacht skipper, and is not often home. This morning his wife went out somewhere, and he drove around looking for her,” he added.
“If you ask me about drugs, I can’t say for sure, though I heard from a friend of his that he did sometimes take ya bah [methamphetamine].”
Police believed the man went on the rampage because of a combination of meth and psychological distress. Col Sermphan said, “We are waiting for the report from the hospital. If he was just in distress, we won’t charge him because no one else was hurt.
“But if lab results show he was on drugs he will be charged with that and sent for rehab.”
UPDATE: On Thursday, police confirmed that the man, whom they named as Pramote Deechoosorn, 37, had tested positive for meth. He has been ordered to undertake a course of rehab at Vachira Phuket Hospital.