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.