Thailand is in the news again for all the wrong reasons after a British grandmother was attacked and kicked in the HEAD.
Rose Owen, 68, had been taking part in the song kran celebrations in Hua Hin with her husband Lewis, 68, and son,also Lewis, when a fight broke out among a group of local Thai men.
CCTV footage that has shocked the world shows a Thai man punching the woman to the ground before another man in the group kicks her head as she sits up.
Thai police have released pictures of the two men they have arrested. But the attack has divided the community of Western expats living in Thailand.
While the majority have condemned the sickening behavior of the Thai men in attacking the woman, others have pointed out that there was a fracas – and it was the woman who first ‘slapped’ the Thai man, and that another western man had started the fight.
Whatever the situation, it does not excuse punching an elderly woman unconscious and then kicking her in the head while she is on the ground.
What’s more, the attack and the resulting international media exposure has done yet more untold damage to the reputation of Thailand as a tourist destination.
Tourism in Bangkok is already down following a difficult few years for the country. The protests in 2013 and 2014, the murders of British backpackers Hannah Witheridge and David Miller and the explosion in Bangkok in 2015 – not to mention military rule which has enforced laws and made the country stricter.
These attacks will not help matters. Many people will be put off from visiting Thailand. Which is sad, as it still remains a beautiful country with a lot of attractions.
Attacks like this are quite rare – as are the kind of drunken thugs that carry them out. Never the less, anyone visiting Thailand should take care to be extra safe and read our tips for visitors.
So what can be done now to improve Thailand’s image? Well, the Thai government is already working hard and doing a lot to improve the country, returning to traditional values and stamping down on drunkenness and loutish behaviour.
With this particular case of the attack in Hua Hin, the perpetrators must be brought to justice, taken to court and they must receive a strong sentence in order to act as a deterrent to any future attacks – and help to show the world that Thailand is a safe place to visit.