A Pattaya jet ski vendor was arrested for assaulting a Swedish tourist who intervened in the vendor’s alleged extortion of a customer.
Chawalit Janthong, 27, was taken into custody around 5 p.m. Jan. 9 after allegedly assaulting modeling-agency owner Fredo Kazenai, 51.
Kazenai said he was walking near Royal Garden Plaza when he saw Chawalit allegedly trying to extort a “settlement” with a tourist who had just returned a rented jet ski. Rampant on Pattaya Beach, the scam rents a customer a jet ski that has concealed damage. Then, when the customer returns, the damage is revealed and customers are told to pay sometimes hundreds of thousands of baht as compensation. Many times, corrupt police officers are brought in to help “negotiate.”
Pol. Col. Supathee Bunkhrong (centre) interrogates jet ski vendor Chawalit Janthong who was arrested for assaulting a Swedish tourist who intervened in the vendor’s alleged extortion of a customer.
This time, however, a well-meaning Swedish tourist stepped in and told the victim about the scam, urging him to file a police complaint. Kazenai said Chawalit got angry at seeing his scam thwarted and attacked the Swede.
Kazenai then went to the police and had the vendor arrested.
Police said Chawalit admitted to the assault, but apologized saying it was just an angry impulse. Pattaya Police Chief Pol. Col. Supathee Bunkhrong, however, pressed on with charges.
“Though this is not a serious crime, it can severely damage tourism because they have been similar incidents quite often,” he said. “Therefore, strict legal actions must be taken to prevent crimes like this from happening again.”