A Phuket travel agent seen on a TikTok video attacking a Chinese tourist claims he punched her first before she slashed him with a knife in a dispute over a refund. The video depicts a fight between a Chinese tourist and a Thai woman who yells at him in Thai. She then kicks him and uses a small knife to sever his arm.
According to reports, the 36-year-old tourist paid a 5,000-baht deposit to the Blue Ocean Travel Company for a 9,000-baht tour package for his family for a one-day trip to the Similan Islands. However, the tour agency did not appear on the scheduled date of January 31.
The tourist was unable to contact the travel agent and believed he had been duped. He reported the incident to the Karon Police Station in Phuket, expecting authorities to assist him in recovering his money.
The Phuket travel agency, however, agreed to refund only 3,400 of the 5,000-baht deposit.
Dissatisfied with how the police handled his complaint, the tourist approached the agent directly to demand the full deposit be returned. The ensuing altercation was captured on a YouTube video.
The superintendent of Karon Police Station, Pol Col Kundech Na Nongkhai, announced on Monday that the travel agent at the centre of the dispute had been arrested.
Wiree, 44, admitted to officers that she had injured the Chinese tourist with a knife, which was later turned over to police as evidence, she has been charged with bodily harm that resulted in injury.
According to him, an initial investigation revealed that the Blue Ocean company has a valid certificate of operation, but his officers are looking for reasons to temporarily suspend operations.
Later that day, the local branch of the Tourism Department suspended the tour company’s license for six months for causing damage to Thai culture and tourism.
However, tourist police told the Tourism and Sports Ministry a different story. According to them, the Chinese tourist and his travel agent misinterpreted the meeting location, causing his group to miss the trip.
When the tourist demanded a full refund, the agent explained that her company had already paid a 1,600-baht entry fee to the Similan Islands. Only the remaining $3,600 would be refunded, according to the agent.
On February 1, the tourist returned to the tour company’s office to demand a full refund. The tour operator insisted on receiving 3,600 baht. According to this version of the story, the tourist became frustrated and punched the agent twice in the face and body before smashing a glass pane in the office.
The woman then exited the office, followed by the tourist, who recorded the rest of the incident on his phone. The tour agent admitted to the attack but claimed it was in self-defense. On February 2, the Chinese tourist left the country.
Illegal Visa’s for Chinese
More than 100 immigration officers are suspected of illegally issuing visas to Chinese investors in so-called grey businesses, according to Immigration Bureau (IB) commissioner Pol Lt Gen Pakphumpipat Sajjaphan.
According to Pol Lt Gen Pakphumpipat, they will be charged with malfeasance and demanding and receiving benefits in exchange for illegal services. There are three police generals and officers of all ranks among the 110 police suspects.
In addition to criminal charges, they will be investigated for serious disciplinary violations, according to Pol Lt Gen Pakphumpipat.
He predicted that the investigation report would be completed and sent to the national police chief, Pol Gen Damrongsak Kittiprapas, this week.
Deputy National Police Chief Pol Gen Surachate Hakparn, who is in charge of the investigation, said yesterday that the report would be presented to the national police chief this week.
The 110 Immigration officers were accused of criminal conspiracy by establishing firms that process visa applications for foreigners, particularly Chinese nationals who enter Thailand on a tourist visa but then obtain non-immigrant visas despite not meeting the necessary business or volunteer criteria, he said.
According to Pol Gen Surachate, these officers forged the signatures of provincial governors and allowed photo identification for visa applicants during the pandemic, despite the fact that the law requires applicants to report in person.
The majority of cases, according to the investigation, have been discovered in the northern and northeastern regions. According to Pol Gen Surachate, the crimes took place between mid-2020 and 2022.
As a ruse to extend their visa, many applicants submitted documents pertaining to their stay issued by language schools or volunteer foundations.