Travel agent's knife attack on Chinese tourist captured on TikTok
published : 6 Feb 2023 at 19:30
updated: 6 Feb 2023 at 22:28
writer: Achadthaya Chuenniran
A Phuket travel agent seen attacking a Chinese tourist in a TikTok video has claimed he punched her first in a dispute over a refund.
The video shows a dispute between the Chinese tourist and a Thai woman berating him in Thai. She then kicks him and cuts his arm with a small knife.
According to reports, the 36-year-old tourist paid a 5,000-baht deposit for a 9,000-baht tour package for his family from the Blue Ocean Travel Company for a one-day trip to the Similan Islands. However, the tour agency did not show up on Jan 31 as arranged.
The tourist could not reach the travel agent and believed he had been scammed. He reported the case to Karon Police Station in Muang district of Phuket, expecting authorities to help him get his money back. However, the travel agency agreed to refund only 3,400 of the 5,000-baht deposit.
Disatisfied with the police handling of his complaint, the tourist approached the agent directly to demand the return of the full deposit. The ensuing confrontation was seen captured in the TikTok video.
On Monday, Pol Col Kundech Na Nongkhai, superintendent of Karon Police Station, revealed the travel agent at the centre of the dispute had now been arrested.
Wiree, 44, confessed to officers that she had injured the Chinese tourist with a knife which has been handed to police as evidence.
She has been charged with bodily harm that caused injury, said Pol Col Kundech.
He said an initial investigation found the Blue Ocean company holds a valid certificate of operation, but his officers are looking for grounds to temporarily suspend the business.
Later on Monday, the local branch of the Tourism Department suspended the licence of the tour firm for six months for damaging Thai culture and tourism.
Twist in the tale
Tourist police, however, told the Tourism and Sports Ministry a different story. They said the Chinese tourist and the travel agent misunderstood the meeting location, causing his group to miss the trip.
When the tourist demanded a full refund, the agent said her company had already paid a 1,600-baht fee for entry to the Similan Islands. The agent planned to refund only the remaining 3,600.
On Feb 1 the tourist went to the tour firm's office to again demand a full refund. The tour agent insisted on paying 3,600 baht. The tourist became frustrated, according to this version of the story, hit a glass pane in the office and punched the agent twice in her face and body.
The woman then walked out of the office, followed by the tourist, who used his phone to record the latter part of the incident.
The tour agent confessed to the attack but said it was actually self-defence.
The Chinese tourist left the country on Feb 2.