The 24-year-old Chilean man, Salvatore Andres Castromedina, was emotional and in tears, in the early hours of Thursday morning, as he gave evidence to Pattaya Police recounting how he was repeatedly kicked to the head by the motorcyclist taxi driver who in CCTV footage appears crazed and sadistic. The South American was hit repeatedly with kickboxes which broke his nose and left him bloodied.
Police officers in Pattaya are waiting on a medical report to decide on criminal charges against a Thai motorcycle taxi driver who was arrested at his home on Thursday following a brutal and unprovoked attack on a 24-year-old Chilean national seeking to hire his services and enquiring about the fare.
A Thai motorbike taxi driver who viciously assaulted a foreign tourist in the early hours of Thursday morning the 25th February, at around 2 am, near the red-light area, has issued an apology for what was an unprovoked attack on the tourist from Chile named as 24-year-old Salvatore Andres Castromedina.
Pattaya police are investigating the incident and believe the primary cause of the outburst was a communication problem as both men could not converse with each other.
Chilean victim spoke very limited English
Mr Salavatore speaks very limited English and the motor taxi driver also has limited foreign language capability.
‘I apologise,’ said Amorn ‘Jeab’ Boonmee. ‘I was annoyed at the tourist who came up to speak to me and I didn’t understand what he was saying. He wouldn’t go when I told him to. I’m someone who gets annoyed easily, especially at people who talk a lot.’
Online video shows a vicious and serious physical assault in which the innocent tourist was elbowed, punched and kicked to the head
The incident on Thursday morning has tarnished the reputation of the already beleaguered tourist resort city of Pattaya suffering from its worst slump in history.
Videos have gone viral online of the sadistic motorbike taxi driver repeatedly kicking a peaceful man sitting on the ground after he asked him about the price of a fare to another part of the city after the recently reopened bars and nightclubs had closed for the night.
Incident reported to Pattaya Police who responded quickly launching a full investigation
The victim of the attack was 24-year-old Chilean, Salvatore Andres Castromedina, who after initially appearing to be in a state of shock, continued talking with the motorbike driver before finally relenting and reporting the serious assault at Pattaya City Police Station.
The incident is being taken very seriously by officers who quickly visited the scene of the assault on Thursday morning and identified bloodstains from the victim.
Mr Salavatore was later treated at a local hospital and investigators are awaiting a full medical report on his condition before deciding the extent of criminal charges to be raised against the Thai man.
Tourist was sitting next to the moto-taxi driver
The incident was caught on police CCTV footage from the area.
The actions of the motorcycle taxi driver or motosai (see video footage below) can only be described as crazed or sadistic in contrast to the contrite apology hours later at Pattaya Police Station.
The attack began as Mr Salvatore, sitting casually next to the driver, asked him how much it would cost to take him to Soi Buakhao in the city.
He was met with a blow from the taxi driver’s elbow later followed by another backhand slap as the tourist continued talking to the man.
There followed a dialogue between the tourist and the exercised motorbike taxi driver punctuated by Thai boxing kicks to the young man’s head. First a single blow and later a double blow which broke the man’s nose.
Prowling around his quarry
The Thai man kept prowling around his quarry and appeared to be picking up bottles on the kerb
Another motorbike taxi driver was at the scene and appeared to be remonstrating with the Chilean.
This man has now been named by police as 45-year-old Rittisak Kulsumaso.
Third-party at the scene expresses regret
On Thursday, after police arrested his colleague Mr Amorn ‘Jeab’ Boonmee at his home in connection with the assault, Mr Rittisak expressed regret for what had happened but pointed out the Chilean foreigner had been drinking alcohol.
‘I really didn’t want this to happen. It’s already hard to make money,’ Mr Rittisak said. ‘He had also been drinking alcohol.’
Pattaya police officers in a gesture of goodwill towards the foreign tourist on Thursday at the station
At the station on Thursday, Pattaya police officers made a presentation to the Chilean as a token of goodwill and wished him well in his recovery.
The Chilean was in an emotional state in the early hours of Thursday morning as he gave evidence to police while being treated by paramedics. His broken and swollen nose was clearly evident.
Police colonel concerned by what happened
The police investigation is being led by Police Colonel Pisit Poonsap.
On Thursday, he was very concerned about the incident and the damage inflicted on Pattaya’s reputation by the needless violence seen on the video footage which police themselves released to the media to emphasise the transparency of their enquiries.
‘This incident has damaged the image of Pattaya and the country’s tourism,’ Police Colonel Pisit said. ‘We don’t want these images to happen.’
Not the first time a foreign tourist has been attacked in Pattaya nor perhaps the last when tourism resumes
This is, of course, not the first time an attack on a tourist in Pattaya has been reported nor will it be the last in a city famous for its nightlife where the mixture of high spirits, alcohol and illegal narcotics can often lead to frayed tempers and dramatic incidents.
In December 2019, Irish man Bart O’ Grady was attacked by 10 men outside a Go-Go club when he reportedly objected to the provocative sexual displays and made enquiries about the age of the women.
He was found hours later in a semi-conscious and bloodied state by a passer-by.
2018 incident saw UK businessman die nearly one year later at home after suffering brain trauma in an attack
However, an incident in May 2018 was more serious.
Then, a UK businessman, former army officer, 55-year-old Mike Jones Mathias, suffered a traumatic brain injury when a bouncer with a GO GO bar hit him with a sucker punch to the head after the UK man had queried a bill presented to him at the bar.
He died in March 2019 at home in the United Kingdom and months later, a coroner’s inquest recorded an open verdict in the case despite pleas from his family to have his death registered as unlawful.
A Thai man was later acquitted in court after police brought charges against him.
Motorcycle taxis part of a licenced force, hundreds of thousands strong, that keep Thailand moving
The man who hit the Chilean on Thursday morning is one of hundreds of thousands of motorbike taxi drivers who can be seen in nearly all Thai urban centres at street corners touting for business.
Dressed in orange and red numbered jackets, the fares charged by the motorcycle drivers are reasonable. However, they have limited language skills and have long been associated with controversy.
This is usually over turf wars where they engage in a confrontational manner with other motorcyclists working with app driver services such as Grab and have also, at times, confronted the police in Bangkok.
All those working in these services are licenced by local authorities and the government. They form part of Thailand’s uniquely cost-effective but sometimes dangerous transport network.
There are over 104,000 such motorcycle taxis alone operating in the Bangkok Metropolitan area.