Face-slapper pays victim B40,000

Face-slapper pays victim B40,000

Industrial chief issues apology after hotel incident goes viral

rash moment: CCTV footage shows Surasi Haengsuwan, director of the Nava Nakorn Industrial Zone in Nakhon Ratchasima, slapping an employee of the Krungsri River Hotel.
rash moment: CCTV footage shows Surasi Haengsuwan, director of the Nava Nakorn Industrial Zone in Nakhon Ratchasima, slapping an employee of the Krungsri River Hotel.

AYUTTHAYA: An industrial estate boss who slapped an Ayutthaya hotel employee after being told he could not smoke has apologised to her and paid 40,000 baht in compensation.

A hotel security video of the incident has attracted more than a million views and led to widespread condemnation of the attacker.

Panita Kochprapa, 25, said she had received an apology from Surasi Haengsuwan, director of the Nava Nakorn Industrial Zone in Nakhon Ratchasima.

Pol Col Anusorn Wayakham, chief of Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya police, invited Ms Panita and Mr Surasi to the station yesterday to discuss the case. They reached a compromise, he added.

Mr Surasi was fined 1,000 baht for physical assault under Section 391 of the Criminal Code, Pol Col Anusorn said.

Ms Panita filed a complaint with police on Nov 7, a day after the incident took place at the Krungsri River Hotel in Ayutthaya.

Police issued a summons to Mr Surasi to appear for questioning on Nov 15.

He failed to answer the summons and a second one was issued, with police saying he would be arrested if he did not report by Nov 29.

Ms Panita said she decided to post footage of the attack on social media as the investigation into the case appeared to be moving at a slow pace.

She said that after the incident, several senior figures had approached and asked her to put an end to the case. She said she did not want to give in and wanted to pursue justice.

Ms Panita posted a message on her Facebook page yesterday to thank the Ayutthaya governor, senior police, hotel executives and members of the media for helping her obtain justice.

She said the incident occurred when Mr Surasi and other guests of the hotel went to have dinner in the VIP room.

When he asked to smoke, she told him smoking was not allowed in the room as it had no smoke ventilation system.

If he lit up, the smoke detector would probably go off and the fire alarm would be triggered, she said.

The man appeared upset by her explanation, she said.

When she left the room to get some water for the guests, he followed and suddenly slapped her in the face before going to his seat.

On Friday, officials from the Bureau of Tobacco Control (BTC) went to the hotel to offer their moral support to Ms Panita over the incident. Chayanan Sittibusaya, director-general of the BTC, said the hotel's management has good measures in place to control smoking, citing the officers who visited the facility.

He said it was right that a guest was warned against smoking at the hotel and he praised the hotel staff for doing so.

If the hotel had ignored the rules and allowed the guest to smoke, it would have flouted the Tobacco Product Control Act, Mr Chayanan said.

He said a new ministerial notification on smoking zones would be enforced on Feb 3, which would cover broadened locations where smoking is prohibited, including outdoor restaurants.


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