CHIANGRAI TIMES – Jack Cole and April Clifton, both 21 from Bath, were enjoying a romantic stroll towards a boat pier in Ao Nang, in southern Thailand, when the motorcycle gang pounced from nearby shadows. The laughing thugs grabbed April, clawing at her clothes, before Jack jumped to her defense.
But the armed youths then turned on him, puncturing his face and body with a flurry of stabs, before they fled into the night leaving Jack to die in a pool of blood.
Luckily a passing British tourist heard Jack’s cries for help and called paramedics to the idyllic beach resort.
‘It was a calculated attack,’ Jack said from the Bangkok-Phuket hospital today. ‘They drove past us several times checking us out. We thought they had gone but they came out of the shadows and attacked April.’
‘They laughed as they grabbed April as a mob. There were seven of them. Four men and three girls. I knocked the guy down who had grabbed April and then they crowded around me and I thought they were punching me.
‘But it seems every punch was a stab. They were shouting in English ‘Come on. Come on’. I saw that April had managed to run away to the safety of a local Dive Shop and I fell to the ground as the group ran away laughing.
‘I managed to stagger up to a foreigner whom I begged for help and people came to staunch the flow of blood.
‘There was no reason for the attack. We had never seen these people before. They appeared to be driving in a gang looking for foreign victims. They made no attempt to take my wallet. They were just interested in April.’
The unnamed Briton, who runs the dive shop, has posted on an expat forum in Thailand.
He said: ‘In Ao Nang. I fear that another tourist death is imminent. Gangs of teenage kids, armed with knifes and machetes roam the roads like something out of a Hollywood horror movie. WTF is wrong with this place!’
He added: ‘I accompanied them to the Krabi hospital where I witnessed the same old story. You pay or no treatment.
‘The resort where they were staying kindly brought his and hers passports, money and the lifesaving Insurance’.
Today three of the seven suspects were being held by Krabi Provincial Police. Another four are being sought from the Nong Talay area of Krabi.
Jack, who has been treated for stab wounds to his face, arms, chest and legs works for the Office Angels company in Bath as a recruitment officer. April has finished her studies and planned to seek work after returning from their dream holiday.
Both had been staying at the luxury Centara Grand Beach Resort Hotel and were walking to the Nopprarat Thara pier to catch a speedboat to their resort in neighbouring Plai Plong Bay.
April’s father has flown out to be with his daughter, who Jack says is scared to go out alone. The British Embassy has confirmed it is providing full consular assistance through their office in Phuket.
Ao Nang has been the scene of several attacks on tourists this year.
Three months ago a 19-year-old Dutch model was raped there. Police arrested her alleged attacker, but he was given bail immediately.
The girl’s Dutch father subsequently posted a music video entitled ‘Evil Man of Krabi’ attacking the Thai justice system.