Phuket Police arrest Ukrainian woman for spray painting slogans at viewpoint

Russian woman spray painted slogan, photo by PR Phuket.

Phuket Police yesterday morning arrested a Ukrainian woman for spray painting slogans critical of Russia at a popular viewpoint. The 34 year old woman spray painted “#Russia is a terrorist state,” and “#Russia” on rocks and a bench at Khao Khad Viewpoint in the Wichit sub-district of Phuket’s main city district.

Wichit Police tracked the woman down through CCTV footage. Officers arrested her and brought her to Wichit Police Station to charge her with vandalism.

Wichit Police Chief Colonel Chatree Chookaew said the woman told police that she did not mean to “destroy the image of Phuket in any way,” but only wanted to express her views on Russia’s aggression toward her country. She has promised not to repeat her actions if she visits Phuket or Thailand in the future.

Still, Colonel Chatree said the woman would nevertheless face charges of vandalism. He added that while people have the right to express their opinions and thoughts, defacing a well-known landmark and viewpoint was not the appropriate way to do it. He stressed that the charge was strictly for vandalism and not for expressing political views.

The woman has been in Thailand for three months as a tourist and plans to return to Ukraine on April 10.

The incident has drawn polarising reactions on social media, with Russians criticising the act and Ukrainians and Westerners supporting it, The Phuket Express reported. Meanwhile, Thais are riled up over the act of defacing a famous viewpoint, regardless of the context of the speech.

The Wichit Police did not mention if the woman was sent to Phuket Immigration for possible yellow or red cards under a new classification system for misbehaving foreigners being tested in Phuket. The Ukrainian woman is expected to appear in court to face the vandalism charges.

This is the second reported case of spray painting slogans critical of Russia in Phuket this year.

In February, a graffiti artist spray painted an anti-Putin slogan on a large rock on a Phuket beach. The slogan spray painted on a rock at Nai Thon Beach read, “Putin killer stop war,” in English, with Russian writing underneath.

The conflict between Russia and Ukraine is seen as a power struggle between Russia and the West, with Russia seeking to maintain influence in Ukraine and the West seeking to support Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Crime NewsPhuket News

Tara Abhasakun

A Thai-American dual citizen, Tara has reported news and spoken on a number of human rights and cultural news issues in Thailand. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in history from The College of Wooster. She interned at Southeast Asia Globe, and has written for a number of outlets. Tara reports on a range of Thailand news issues.

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