Families of 2 Chinese killed in speedboat accident given 4.6 million baht from Pattaya ‘tourist court’

Friday, 20 September 2013 From Issue Vol. XXI No. 38 By  Phasakorn Channgam

The families of two Chinese tourists killed in last month’s speedboat accident off Bali Hai Pier were given 4.6 million baht in compensation from the boat’s owner and his insurance company at the first hearing at Pattaya’s new “tourist court.”

The families of Dong Feiyue, 30, and Zhang Tao, 29, filed suit Sept. 5 against the unidentified owner of the Chok Suwanna 17 and his insurance company, giving the new Tourist Protection Section of the Pattaya Courthouse its first opportunity to deliver on promises of speedy justice for tourists.

The result was speedy, but not the justice the families were hoping for.

Pattaya Chief Justice Apichart Thepnoo (center) addresses the press after handing down a ruling of 2.3 million baht compensation for each death to the families of two Chinese tourists killed in last month’s speedboat accident off Bali Hai Pier, a little less than a third of what they asked for.Pattaya Chief Justice Apichart Thepnoo (center) addresses the press after handing down a ruling of 2.3 million baht compensation for each death to the families of two Chinese tourists killed in last month’s speedboat accident off Bali Hai Pier, a little less than a third of what they asked for.

Tao’s wife, Zhui Xiang Hua, 30; and Dong’s wife Yang Xiaojuan, 29, originally sued for 8 million baht for each of the victims, who were catapulted out of the twin-engine speedboat and died of broken necks about 200 meters off the pier Aug. 28. Eight others were also pulled from the sea by marine rescuers. Gu Yuzhang, 32, was most-seriously hurt, suffering a broken leg and hand and other severe injuries.

Pattaya Chief Justice Apichart Thepnoo said the boat owner and the Mahasan insurance company objected, with the two sides eventually agreeing to a settlement of 2.3 million baht for each death. The boat’s owner will pay 2 million baht while the insurance company will cover 2.6 million baht.

Apichart said the plaintiffs left “satisfied” and would not be filing any further charges. The two women declined comment.

“This case succeeded according to its purpose of the tourism court, the chief justice declared. ”It was completed efficiently and justly to protect the rights of tourists resulting in a better image for Thai courts and the nation itself.”

Kriangkrai Boonsri, 23, the driver of the speedboat, is behind bars in Pattaya on charges of reckless driving causing death or injuries.

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