Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Austrian Tourist Attacked, Stabbed by Youth Gang in Phuket

Rupert Wilhelmstatter, an Austrian tourist in his 50s is recovering from a punctured lung and other injuries sustained in a brutal robbery attack by four knife-wielding youths in Phuket yesterday (December 6). The incident occurred at roughly 1345, when Wilhelmstatter was returning by motorbike to his hotel in Patong from Paradise Beach, on the south end of Patong Bay. He was alone at the time.

The attack took place when four gang members in their teens approached the victim on two motorbikes, each parallel to Wilhelmstatter, when one of the youths began kicking at his motorbike, which resulted in it falling to the ground.

Rather than giving up what money he had voluntarily, the victim incorrectly physically attempted to resist four gang members, resulting in his being stabbed and suffering a punctured lung. In the end, the gang took 200 baht (US$6.47) from the victim anyway.

COMMENT: Wilhelmstatter was taken to Patong Hospital for emergency treatment, then transferred to the better-equipped Bangkok Hospital in Phuket Town. He is currently in the intensive care unit (ICU).

What many tourists do not realize is that all street criminals want is money and valuables, yet they are prepared to do serious damage to tourists if they resist. There is little property that is worth losing your life, spoiling a vacation or spending it in the hospital over.

Within a few hours, the police arrested two of the youths, who are now in police custody. Interrogation of the suspects led to the arrest of a third youth, age 15, as well as recovery of one of the motorbikes used in the attack on the victim. A fourth member of the gang, who police believe actually stabbed Wilhelmstatter, is still at large.

Fortunately, the arrest of the three gang members resulted in confessions to an attack on a two tourists on December 3, whereby the victims were robbed at knife-point, resulting in the loss of a camera, a smart-phone and 7,000 baht (US$226.50).

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