Riotous scenes as Thai nightlife workers let rip when tensions overflowed at a well-known Pattaya Go Go bar early on Sunday morning. Police are investigating the matter as a serious disturbance although it is not clear if charges have been filed or are being pursued by the victims involved.

28-year-old British holidaymaker Jack Fitzmaurice found himself chased by screaming dancers, bar hostesses and staff from a nightclub in Pattaya’s Soi Buakhao on Sunday morning after feminine pique turned into jealousy and rage among the bar’s workers when he was seen to be engaged with his 35-year-old Thai girlfriend. The UK man was left lying outside the club with cuts and abrasions in a bewildered state as police restored order.

(Left) 28-year-old Jack Fitzmaurice after he had recovered somewhat from his injuries on Sunday morning. He suffered abraisons when a violent conflagration erupted among over 20 women, which began when one became piqued by his Thai girlfriend, 35-year-old Sunaree Tungprakhon (right), at a Soi Buakhao Go Go club in Pattaya.

Pattaya police are investigating a brawl and an outbreak of violence at a well-known nightlife venue in the city early on Sunday morning in which a 28-year-old British tourist was an assault victim when he was attacked by over 20 Thai women, many of them working as hostesses at the Paradise A Go Go club on the city’s Soi Buakhao, a popular destination for foreign tourists and in the heart of the city’s nightlife centre.

Significantly, the city’s entertainment district has been experiencing a revival this year as numbers rise inexorably with the recovery of the country’s foreign tourism industry.

Eyewitness, a fellow British man, told the UK tabloid The Daily Mail the UK man was chased out of the bar by angry women and bar staff after trying to help

One western onlooker, a fellow Brit, has told the British media outlet, the Daily Mail, that what happened was similar to a ‘wild west type bar room brawl’ in which women began pulling each other’s hair kicking each other and were subsequently joined by the nightclub’s bar staff with a mass of people eventually chasing the British man at the centre of the uproar out of the club onto the streets.

Despite this, reports from the scene suggest that the 28-year-old was only trying to keep the peace and restore calm.

It is understood that the conflagration began when one of the hostesses in the club took issue with the British man’s Thai girlfriend in what appears to have been jealousy as many women in the club, among them sex workers, were looking for short-term boyfriends.

UK man identified as Jack Fitzmaurice. He suffered minor abrasions and injuries and appeared dazed and shocked by the onslaught of violence and mayhem

The British man, who sustained slight injuries in the brawl and who afterwards attempted to play down the incident, was identified as 28-year-old Mr Jack Fitzmaurice.

Pictures and video from the scene showed Mr Fitzmaurice lying on the ground in a dazed condition with blood spatters on his T-shirt.

He appeared to remain conscious and repeatedly told onlookers and those who sought to give him assistance that he would be all right and simply sought to leave the scene with his Thai companion. 

‘I’ll be alright I just want to go home to bed,’ Mr Fitzmaurice repeatedly told bystanders who were eventually joined by officers from Pattaya Police Station who responded to reports of the incident and who have now launched a criminal investigation into what transpired.

UK man appeared to be a hit with women at the club with one who started a fight with his companion which triggered an explosion of feminine violence

The British eyewitness who was nearby when the fight between the Thai women broke out, Mr Nicholas Hodge, told the media that it appeared that Mr Fitzmaurice was much sought after by many of the young women in the club. 

‘I think there was a lot of jealousy going on over who was getting which punter. Before I knew it, the girls were fighting. The poor kid only tried to stop them and he ended up getting a serious beating,’ Mr Hodge revealed. ‘There was hair being pulled and legs flying everywhere. Then the bar staff joined in and it became quite nasty. It was just like a Wild West-type bar fight you see in the old movies. Just mad.’

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It is understood that one of the women attacked Mr Fitzmaurice’s girlfriend and this triggered a sequence of events that morphed into an explosion of violence among the women.

The 28-year-old Brit then tried to intervene and became the focus of the ire that spread among the roiling group.

Thai woman with UK national told reporters she does not want to pursue charges against those who started the aggravation as it could lead to problems

Mr Fitzmaurice’s Thai companion, 35-year-old Sunaree Tungprakhon, spoke to police at the scene but declined to press charges against her attackers. 

At length, the Thai woman, who is herself a dancer, said she was attacked by one of the women working at the club but would not be pursuing the case or filing a formal complaint with the police which could lead to complications if a prosecution was to ensue. 

‘There was a group of about 20 people, punching and kicking until my British friend was involved and also injured,’ she explained. ‘I don’t want to have problems with this group of people, I’m afraid that it will be dangerous.’

Pattaya police see the incident as serious amid an investigation including a review of CCTV tapes and the identification of all those who took part

However, it appears that Pattaya police are viewing the incident as a serious one since the government in Thailand is anxious to avoid any negative publicity as it seeks to promote the foreign tourism industry.

In recent weeks, the cabinet has approved longer and extended late-night opening hours for nightlife venues in key tourist hotspots including Bangkok, Pattaya, Chiang Mai and Phuket.

4 am nightlife closing hours on track for Christmas or New Year’s season despite intense blowback

The move has been fiercely contested by anti-alcohol lobby groups and conservative Thais who are resolutely opposed to the country’s nightlife industry.

Nevertheless, the new regime to be introduced in December will mean that nightlife establishments such as those on Soi Buakhao will be allowed to open until 4 am and sell alcohol.

Pattaya police are understood to be in the process of collecting and reviewing CCTV footage from within the Go Go Bar establishment, other clubs and the immediate area outside the venue.

Being drunk is no excuse says top police officer

Moreover, officers are seeking to understand what happened on Sunday morning and who was responsible.

Lieutenant Colonel Natchaphol Saengsi, Deputy Director of Investigation at the City Police Station, views Sunday morning’s carrying on as a serious matter and appears determined to pursue legal prosecution.

‘Most of the people involved were drunk, but that is not a justification. Some witnesses said the injured tourist tried to run away from the bar, but the staff chased him down and attacked him,’ Lieutenant Colonel Natchaphol declared. ‘We are tracking down all the suspects involved and will interview them to ensure fairness on both sides before prosecuting in the legal process.’

Pattaya City is a holiday city with a bad reputation in Western countries even though it is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world

Undeniably, the world’s media, particularly British tabloids, refer to Pattaya City as the ‘sex capital of the world’.

In the late 1950s and early 1960s, the place, now known as Pattaya, was a sleepy fishing village which became popular with American GIs and servicemen who arrived there originally in 1959 for a holiday.

Many Western travel agents in the United States, United Kingdom and Europe will refuse to make bookings or include the city on tour schedules for even long-standing customers because of its reputation as a sex-for-sale mecca.

Yet the story of how it became ‘Sin City’ is a fascinating one.

There is a specific report of a group of American GIs arriving in the Pattaya area on the 29th of June 1959 and renting properties there to enjoy their R&R or rest and relaxation from their service duties. The group was serving at a base in Korat in Northeastern Thailand.

However, with its popularity among the Americans established, years later it was the Vietnam War that led to a huge influx of American servicemen after the village had developed its reputation. 

After that, with the growth of the international airline industry, which exploded in the 1970s, the city took off as a sex tourism destination.

Pattaya’s importance to the Thai economy

Today, the Greater Pattaya area has a population of over 1 million people, with the inner city itself containing 328,961.

The city authorities in the last two decades have tried to dispel the city’s reputation, before the pandemic, even trying to market it as a family-friendly holiday destination. 

However, its closure during the virus emergency with the loss of foreign tourists was a huge blow to the city’s economy and across the wider eastern seaboard of Thailand to such an extent that authorities have now accepted the importance of the city’s nightlife industry not only to the local economy but to Thailand’s overall national GDP.

At the same time, this industry, like the wider sex industry in Thailand, is understood to be in decline as younger Thais have more economic opportunities and societal attitudes worldwide, particularly in Western countries, have changed, especially among younger age groups.

In 2018, Pattaya was the 18th most visited location in the world with nearly 10 million tourists and the third most popular destination in Thailand behind Phuket with 11.5 million visitors and of course, Bangkok, which welcomed 24.2 million visitors, five years ago. 

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Further reading:

Russian man barrels his way into a Pattaya Seven-Eleven store smashing the glass door to pieces

Police arrest motosai driver in Pattaya for the brutal assault of a tourist asking about a local fare

Inquest into death of Brit who died following a sucker punch outside a Pattaya Go Go bar

Irishman viciously attacked by Go-Go bar by a 10 man gang on his first night in Pattaya over dispute

Police crack the whip on late-night drinking in Pattaya after bizarre shootout at a local Thai bar

Go-Go dancers in Pattaya left out of pocket as salaries left unpaid by foreign bar owner

Bar girl provokes bar fight after Chinese man refuses her attentions in Pattaya – fines and charges ordered

3 western men arrested by Pattaya police at the ‘Pussycat Club’ on Saturday night and locked up