Tuesday 27 September 2016

WARNING: Video shows British family being beaten unconscious at Thailand beach resort

A man who tries to help the couple and their son also appears to be attacked

Jess Staufenberg

Published 29/04/2016 | 09:14

The three members of a British family beaten unconscious in a "drunken" attack at a Thai tourist resort have been identified.

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Lewis and Rosemary Owen, and their son Lewis - named after his father - were kicked and punched during an assault by a gang during celebrations for the Thai New Year.

The couple are believed to be 68 and 65 and have been named by neighbours from Wenvoe, in the vale of Glamorgan in Wales.

CCTV footage leaked online shows the attackers punch and kick the victims in the busy Soi Bintabaht district. When Ms Owen tries to sit up she is brutally kicked in the head and collapses.

Thai officials have said the men were under the influence of alcohol and reportedly "sorry" for the attack.

John Miles, 65, a retired lecturer at Cardiff University, said he learned about the attack in the newspaper.

He said: "I later saw Rose and Lew's daughter in the village - who told me that it was her mum, dad and brother who had been attacked.

"It came as a big shock. She said she hadn't slept all night and looked so worried. It must be hell for her knowing this has happened and being on the other side of the world.

"It is dreadful what has happened.

"Lew and Rose are really well-liked people and everyone is thinking of them. I don't know how they are doing, but when they come back I know that everyone will do whatever they can to help."

Prof Miles added the couple often go to Thailand to visit friends and their son had flown out from Singapore to meet them.

"Lew and Rose are a really lovely couple and very hard-working," he said.

"They all know the lay of the land there and the local customs.

"They are genuinely lovely people, I can't imagine why anyone would ever want to hurt them."

Police spokesman Chaiyakorn Sriladecho said the attack started after "the son accidentally bumped into one of the Thai men".

He said: "The men say they are sorry and that they wouldn't have done this if they weren't drunk."

The father and son required stitches for head injuries, while the mother suffered serious head and eye injuries, Mr Chaiyakorn said.

A spokesman for the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) said Royal Thai Police arrested six people and charged them with grievous assault on April 17.

He said: "An investigation is in process and the suspects will soon be under the jurisdiction of the court. If found guilty, the perpetrators of this incident will face full justice under Thai law.

"The Tourism Authority of Thailand would like to express our deepest sorrow to the family who were subjected to the assault in Hua Hin during the Songkran celebrations. We hope that you recover from your injuries and make a swift and full recovery.

"TAT would like to assure international travellers that this was an isolated incident, not targeted on any group of foreign tourists in particular. The situation was exacerbated by alcohol."

The Songkran New Year celebrations are also known as the Water Festival, when Thai families splash water on each other as part of a religious ritual of renewal.

The British Embassy launched its SongkranSafe campaign ahead of the festivities and encouraged holidaymakers to take part while appreciating local customs and traditions.

A spokeswoman for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) said: "Our staff have been in contact with the family to offer assistance and will remain in contact with the local authorities."

The FCO said they had no information on the condition of the three UK nationals following the attack.

Independent News Service

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