Soi 6 bargirl says she & Aussie only playing before deadly attack

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Chief investigator, Pol. Lt. Col. Teerasak Seesaeng, interviews Ladda Onphukhao, the cashier at Ruby Club, who was seated only a meter away from the brief, but brutal, fight.
Chief investigator, Pol. Lt. Col. Teerasak Seesaeng, interviews Ladda Onphukhao, the cashier at Ruby Club, who was seated only a meter away from the brief, but brutal, fight.

An American man charged with the deadly assault of an Australian was expected to re-enact the fight in a Soi 6 bar and make his first appearance in court this week.

Jose Manuel Polanco Jr., 43, has been in custody since he surrendered to Pattaya police Feb. 12 following the death of Benjamin Matthew Robb, 43, hours after a drunken brawl in the Ruby Club.

Investigators on Feb. 13 said they had interviewed witnesses to the attack and were awaiting an autopsy report to certify the exact cause of death, which was suspected to be a brain hemorrhage caused by Robb being punched in the face and hitting his head after crumpling to the ground.

The chief investigator, Pol. Lt. Col. Teerasak Seesaeng, said he interviewed Ladda Onphukhao, the cashier at Ruby Club, who was seated only a meter away from the brief, but brutal, fight.

Australian media claimed police said they had security camera video footage of the incident, although cameras right over the bar were not working.

Also interviewed was Rungarun Saensuwan, the bar hostess who was the unwilling spark that ignited the fight. Polanco has told police he was only acting in defense of the late-20s bar maiden, who he said Robb had grabbed by the throat and lifted until she turned blue.

Rungarun confirmed to police that Robb had indeed lifted her by the neck and she had trouble breathing, but the two were only playing around. He was not attacking her.

She added that she’s sad about being the object of the fight and planned to go to Pattaya Remand Prison to visit Polanco, who has had numerous visitors since his incarceration.

The defendant was expected to appear at Pattaya Provincial Court sometime during this week to acknowledge formal charges, as well as participate in a re-enactment of the assault. Polanco has denied intentionally killing Robb, so it was unknown how he would carry out his part of the re-enactment without admitting guilt.