As discovered by the two Australians violently beaten by bouncers outside a Thailand nightclub, the famous hospitality of the Land of Smiles has its limits, and when those limits are crossed it can mean trouble – particularly on Patong beach.
Footage of the fight, posted online by an employee of the Aussie Bar in Patong, shows security guards viciously kicking and elbowing the Australians while they crawl around on the ground.
After the video went viral online the five security guards involved were subsequently fired, but they, in turn, claimed the Australians were the ones to start the trouble in the first place.
Lieutenant Colonel Pongpichan Chayanonpiriya of the Patong Police, who are looking for the Australians, said the security guards had to ask the two foreigners to leave after they refused to pay for drinks.
The pair are said to have denied ordering any drinks, proceeding to ignore the waiters, take off their shirts and dance.
When security asked them to leave, the tourists were said to have become aggressive, with one hitting a guard in the face.
“The security guards then fought back as seen in the video,” Lt Col Pongpichan said.
The pair are just the latest Australians to find themselves in strife after night outs in tourist hotspot of Patong on Phuket, which features relaxed regulations regarding the service of alcohol – placing the onus of responsibility on patrons rather than the venue – a situation Australians certainly aren’t used to back home.
In 2009 at the same bar where the two men were bashed, 36-year-old Annice Smoel, who claimed her friends jokingly placed a bar mat in her bag without her knowledge, was arrested for stealing, left in custody for over 36-hours, then released with a criminal conviction and a suspended sentence of six months.
More serious incidents in Patong include the Australian tourists Peter John Maynard and Craig Bradly Lenard True, who ended up in hospital in 2013 after drunkenly smashing an ashtray into the eye of an American, provoking the entire bar to retaliate against the Aussies, striking them with fists and chairs in a massive brawl.
In 2013, two Australian bikies John Edward Cohen and Adam Lewis Shea were convicted of accidentally shooting a couple of German tourists – they were aiming for a Dutch man they had a dispute with over a motorbike.
More recently, there was expat Australian Mark Pendlebury, who came across a nightlife altercation between a bouncer and several Australians and Indians, only to become involved himself and pull out his knife.
The fight left the local security guard, 26-year-old security guard Sanya Khluaewaengmon, dead from stabbing wounds.
Pendlebury, who credited the Indians with saving his life, was charged with the security guard’s murder but was later acquitted after police determined that he acted in self-defence.
Sanya’s family agreed not to pursue the case after Pendlebury agreed to pay the next of kin the local equivalent of $48,000 in compensation.
Thailand is one of Australia’s most popular international tourist destinations, with more than 600,000 Australians travelling there every year.
Australian consular officials believe roughly 80 per cent of the cases in which Australians find themselves in trouble in Thailand go unreported, often resolved via extorted payments.
If such payments prove too expensive, Smart Traveller offers some helpful advice on how to adapt to prison life overseas.