Angry crowd in riot outside Phuket police station
Published 11/10/2015 | 08:06
An angry crowd hurled home-made fire bombs and torched vehicles at a police station on Thailand's resort island of Phuket amid protests over the deaths of two young men in a motorcycle crash while being chased by police.
No tourists were injured in the violence, which started on Saturday evening and ended early on Sunday, but it is understood scores of people missed flights as a result of the riot as it blocked a main road to the airport for several hours.
The protest occurred outside the island's main tourist areas at Thalang police station, where a crowd that swelled to more than 300 people blocked the road.
Police and soldiers were called in to restore order early on Sunday after at least nine cars were set on fire and 11 other vehicles damaged by the crowd, which hurled objects at the police station as officers were trapped inside.
Phuket police Lt Col Amnuay Kraiwuttinan said: "They threw things to break the windows first, then they threw fire bombs at the police station and we had to move inside. It was a riot. It was loud and chaotic." He added that officers were instructed to stay calm and not fight back.
Police are investigating the deaths of the two Thai men, who were aged 17 and 22.
Mr Amnuay said police suspected the men of drug possession after they sped past a police checkpoint and refused to stop, prompting officers to chase them.