US tourist in air­port rage at­tack


An Amer­i­can tourist who al­legedly grabbed a ho­tel em­ployee and threw him to the ground at Su­varn­ab­humi air­port has been ar­rested.

Rod­ney Phillips, 49, was ar­rested and taken to Su­varn­ab­humi air­port po­lice sta­tion yes­ter­day fol­low­ing the at­tack on Surasak Areep­han, 48, an em­ployee at a Bangkok ho­tel on Sun­day.

Footage from se­cu­rity tele­vi­sion cam­eras on the sec­ond floor of the air­port’s pas­sen­ger ter­mi­nal showed a for­eigner hold­ing Mr Surasak and throw­ing him to the ground. The at­tacker smashed Mr Surasak’s head into the floor sev­eral times in full view of other pas­sen­gers at the air­port.

Air­port se­cu­rity guards in­ter­vened to help Mr Surasak, who sus­tained a bro­ken arm. The at­tacker fled, but was later caught.

Mr Surasak said he was sent to pick up ho­tel guests at the air­port that day.

Be­fore the at­tack, he placed a sign with the names of ho­tel guests next to an iron bar­rier by the pas­sen­ger exit gate, and then left the area.

On his re­turn, he no­ticed the sign had dis­ap­peared. He asked staff from other ho­tels if they knew what had hap­pened to it, and was told that a for­eign man had taken it.

He went look­ing for the man, he said, and on spot­ting him, asked for his sign back.

The man be­came an­gry, he said, and then grabbed him by the throat and threw him to the ground, break­ing his arm.

Even then, the man did not stop, Mr Surasak said, bash­ing his head into the floor sev­eral times be­fore guards at the air­port came to his res­cue.

He in­sisted he had never seen the at­tacker be­fore.

Dur­ing ques­tion­ing, the Amer­i­can con­fessed to hav­ing at­tacked the vic­tim, po­lice said, say­ing an ill­ness cou­pled with a flight can­cel­la­tion caused him to suf­fer stress that drove him to at­tack the man.

Of­fi­cers pressed as­sault charges against the Amer­i­can.

He was be­ing held in po­lice cus­tody pend­ing a court trial.

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