SURAT THANI -A 23-year-old British tourist Stephen Ashton has been killed by a stray bullet during a fight involving a group of Thai men in a bar at Koh Phangan’s Haad Rin Beach early in the morning of New Year’s day.
He is thought to have been caught in the crossfire when a fight erupted between two local gangs.
Witnesses said that two groups of Thai youths got into an argument which escalated into a fist-fight at around 4am. As one of the groups ran from the bar, one man turned and fired a shot back inside.
Ashton was shot in the torso. He was rushed to Ban Don International Hospital but was later pronounced dead.
Local police spokesman Lt Col Somsak Noorod said: “He was shot in the side while he was dancing on the beach.”
The shooting took place at the Zoom Bar on Haad Rin Beach. Ashton was staying with a group of four or five friends at the nearby Pink’s Bungalow.
The suspect, named as Ekkapan Kaewkla, 26, was reportedly found in possession of a homemade gun when he was arrested. It was claimed he had gone into hiding in the mountains.
Ekkapan admitted he had fought with another group of men at Zoom Bar but denied firing the fatal shot, according to the Bangkok Post.
A Foreign Office spokesman said: “We are aware of the death of a British national in Thailand on New Year’s Eve. We are providing consular assistance to the family.