On August 3, 2023, the Chonburi authorities made a significant breakthrough by apprehending a group of foreign gang members who were involved in creating tumultuous content at the popular Pattaya view point in Thailand. The clip, which went viral on various media platforms, showed a man dressed in black holding a gun and intimidating over 10 Kuwaiti tourists. The incident caused fear among tourists and tarnished the image of Pattaya City.
The police, including officials from Chonburi Provincial Police, Immigration Police, Tourist Police, and Pattaya City Police Station, acted swiftly and managed to arrest the main suspect, identified as Mr. Kaew Saw, a 25-year-old Myanmar national, within just 8 hours. Another accomplice, Mr. Ne Sinlat, a 21-year-old Myanmar national, who filmed the clip, was also apprehended. Both suspects were found in possession of lighters designed to look like firearms, similar to the one used in the clip.
During the investigation, the duo confessed that on August 1, 2023, they were present at the viewpoint when a group of Kuwaiti teenagers arrived on a motorcycle. In a misguided attempt to create content for TikTok, Mr. Kaew pretended to be a mafia member, using the fake gun to coerce the Kuwaiti tourists into posing for the video, which they thought was a harmless prank. They claimed to have no prior acquaintance with the Kuwaiti group.
The authorities continued their efforts and subsequently arrested four more Kuwaiti teenagers who appeared in the clip. All four individuals were on a 30-day tourist visa.
The suspects are facing charges under Section 384 of the Criminal Code for pretending to deceive and causing public panic. Additionally, they may also be charged under the Computer Act 2017, Section 14(2),(5), for fraudulent import of false information into a computer system, which carries a maximum penalty of five years imprisonment or a fine of up to one hundred thousand baht, or both.
The incident had a negative impact on Thailand’s tourism image, as it created fear and panic among tourists. The Chonburi Provincial Police Station is proposing to establish a committee to review the behavior of foreigners in the region who engage in inappropriate actions or commit offenses under the law. Depending on the seriousness of the offense, these individuals may face deportation or be blacklisted from entering Thailand in the future.
The authorities emphasized the need for full prosecution to make foreigners aware of the severe consequences of such actions and their detrimental effects. They also plan to coordinate with the Kuwaiti Embassy to raise awareness among Kuwaiti citizens and prevent similar incidents from occurring in the future.