Britons beaten up in Thailand will never go back, says son
Lewis Owen says he and his parents did not initially realise how badly they had been hurt
A British man who, alongside his mother and father, was beaten unconscious in a Thai beachside resort has said his family will never return to the country after the “out of the blue” attack.
Lewis Owen, a graphic designer who lives in Singapore, was on holiday with his parents Lewis and Rosemary Owen, aged 68 and 65, when several men attacked them this month during Thai new year celebrations in Hua Hin.
CCTV footage showed a vicious assault in which Mr Owen briefly touches shoulders with a Thai man carrying a bottle who appears to push him to the ground.
An argument ensues and the family are set upon, repeatedly punched and kicked in the face even as they lie on the ground. “I’m not going back to Thailand again,” Mr Owen was quoted as saying. “Mum and dad won’t be either. Never, ever again.”
Mr Owen has already returned to Singapore but his parents, from Wenvoe in Wales, are expected to return to the UK next week.
He said his father had two black eyes and six stitches to the forehead. Mr Owen said he had 16 stitches on his head in three areas.
“Because it’s above my hairline it is not too bad, I have still got a bit of hair. They had to shave my hair off to stitch it up.”
He said hospital staff were worried about his mother who had to have several operations to deal with brain swelling.
The parents have been regular visitors to Thailand for many years and meet up twice a year with their son, he said.
The attack occurred on April 13th, in the early hours of the morning during the Thai new year’s Songkran festival, also known as the water festival where street parties turn into giant water fights.
The water is a symbol of cleansing and renewal.
Mr Owen said after a night at a bar, he was walking his mother and father back when they were attacked. “I didn’t know them, it was just random,” he said.
“It was just out of the blue. None of us were drunk. We had just had a merry night and were going home.”
He had not not see the video footage until Thursday and did not realise “how badly we were beaten up.
“We were all unconscious. My mum did not even realise she had been kicked in the face. I did not know my head had been stamped on.”
Thai police Col Chaiyakorn Siradecho said four men had been arrested and would be charged with grievous bodily harm. A spokesman for the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) said “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 ? 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 British embassy had begun a safety campaign to make sure tourists were aware of the dangers during the Songkran festival. Car accidents spike during the event and revellers are often drunk, but attacks on tourists are rare.