An Australian tourist was found hanging in a jail cell after being arrested on Sunday night for being drunk and disorderly outside a pub in Patong, Phuket police reported on Monday.
Mr.Michael Matthew Winder, 31, was arrested outside an entertainment venue in Patong, according to Pol Maj Gen Sermpan Sirikhong, the provincial police head. He was escorted to Patong police station and placed in a second-floor jail cell.
The police sergeant on duty allegedly left for lunch around noon on Monday and returned with some food for the detainee. When he brought the food to the man cell he found Mr. Winder was hanging by his neck from his t-shirt, which was fastened to the iron bars.
The sergeant said he entered the cell to check the Australian mans pulse. He said that Winder had died. According Phuket police, the Australian was the sole detainee in the cell.
The police are presently declaring the case a suicide, but his girlfriend Ayla Varoxis, the Daily Mail Australia, that suicide just doesn’t add up and believes there was something more sinister at play. None of it makes sense,’ she said.
Authorities claim to have CCTV footage of Mr Winder’s death, although the claims have yet to be corroborated. Ms Varoxis described Michael “Matty” as a caring and generous man who will be missed greatly.
‘I loved him with all my heart,’ she added. ‘Matty had the heart of a lion. He was ferocious, protective, and powerful. ‘He’d gladly give you the shirt off his back… and he made everyone around him happy’, she said.
The Australian Embassy was alerted following the tragic news and informed his family. The embassy is now working to organize the return of his body to his family in Australia. They stated that an investigation into the man’s death was underway.
The deaths of tourists in police custody in Thailand are a concerning issue that has been reported in the media over the years. While Thailand is generally a safe destination for travelers, incidents of police brutality and mistreatment of foreigners in custody have been reported.
The Thai government has taken steps to address this issue, including the establishment of a Tourist Police Bureau, which is tasked with assisting tourists in trouble, and the training of police officers in human rights and proper arrest procedures.
However, there have been cases where tourists have died in police custody due to mistreatment, lack of medical attention, or other factors. These cases are often met with public outrage and calls for justice.
Travelers visiting Thailand should take precautions to stay safe, such as being aware of their surroundings, avoiding risky behaviors, and familiarizing themselves with local laws and customs. If a traveler does find themselves in trouble with the police, they should remain calm and comply with instructions, while also seeking assistance from the Tourist Police Bureau or their embassy.