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Van driver in Phuket charged with threatening Singaporean tourist in $2.87 dispute

THAILAND — A van driver in Phuket has been charged by the provincial police for threatening a tourist from Singapore.

This action follows the circulation of an online video depicting their encounter on Sunday (2 Jul).

According to a statement shared on Phuket Provincial Police’s Facebook post, The incident took place in front of the Coffee Talk café on Ratsada Road, Mueang Phuket District.

A video shared on the post shows a man wearing a red shirt approaching another individual dressed in a white and red Ajax Amsterdam football shirt.

The man in the red shirt raises his arm in a threatening manner, indicating his intention to deliver a backhanded slap to the second man, causing the latter to flinch and retreat.

The scene takes place beside a road where a prominently labeled van with “Hatyai World Tour” is parked, while two suitcases are positioned on the sidewalk.

The second man later moved his suitcase from the road and places it outside a café. However, the first man confronts him once again, expressing his anger. The man in the red shirt appears to be holding a rod-like object behind his back.

Dispute over 2.87 USD fare leads to verbal altercation between the driver and the Singaporean

According to the Phuket police statement, the second man is identified as 35-year-old Faris Abdul Kadir Basharahil, a Singaporean national.

After the incident, Mr. Faris filed a complaint with the investigating officers at the Mueang Phuket Police Station to pursue legal action against the van driver.

In response, the police initiated an investigation and identified the driver as Poramet Soraket, a 47-year-old employee of a van service company.

They contacted him to meet with the investigating officers for questioning and to provide details of the incident.

On Monday (3 July), Poramet Soraket provided a statement to the investigating officers. He explained that prior to the events captured in the video clip, he picked up Mr. Faris, along with 11 other passengers, from Pak-Up Hotel in Krabi Province.

The journey from Krabi to Phuket covered a distance of approximately 170km and lasted nearly 3 hours.

Upon reaching the location of the incident, Mr. Faris requested to be taken to Grand Supicha City Hotel on Narisorn Road, where he had made a reservation. The hotel was about 1km away from the café where he had been dropped off.

However, the van driver informed Mr. Faris that the company only provides transportation within the Phuket city area. If Mr. Faris wanted to be taken to the hotel, an additional fee of 100 Baht (2.87 USD) would be required.

Mr. Faris refused to pay the additional amount, which led to a disagreement between him and the driver. The driver claimed that Mr. Faris exhibited impolite behavior, resulting in a verbal altercation between the two.

The police further explained that Mr. Faris expressed dissatisfaction with how Poramet unloaded his luggage from the van. The driver became angry when Mr. Faris made a comment and took a photo of him.

The driver holding a rubber hose during the altercation

The police clarified that the object seen in Poramet’s hand in the video was a rubber hose. However, they did not provide an explanation as to why he was holding it during the confrontation with the tourist.

As a result, the driver was charged with the offense of “frightening a person by use of threat” and was summoned to appear in the Phuket Provincial Court.

After reviewing the case, the Phuket Provincial Court determined that there was sufficient evidence to support the charges. Considering the circumstances, Mr. Poramet was given the opportunity to accept the charges, which would contribute to the court’s decision to mitigate the penalty.

The court reduced the penalty by half, in accordance with Section 58 of the Criminal Code, resulting in a fine of 1,000 Baht (28.67 USD) and a one-month jail term.

Meanwhile, the Royal Thai Police verified that the van driver possessed a valid public driving license and forwarded the information to the Department of Land Transport in Phuket Province, coordinating with the Department of Land Transport in Krabi Province to take further appropriate action.

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