Contractor takes drastic measures to get payment

PHUKET: A building contractor was so irritated by a dispute over payment with a customer that he did some extra work around her house this morning. He nailed planks across all her doors and windows, making her a prisoner in her home with her two small children. House owner Paetai “Noi” Kaeser, 35, living at 78/392 Soi 3, Phuket Villa 5, told the Gazette that Wichai Sritong, managing director of the House Doctor Co Ltd, arrived at her house at 8:40 this morning with six workers. They climbed over the wall around her house, bringing with them the long planks that they used to nail across her doors and windows. “I didn’t know what to do,” K. Noi told the Gazette. “I am living here with my young son and my baby girl. I was so scared and so worried about the children that I didn’t argue; I just let them [the workers] go ahead.” After the construction gang left, neighbors pried some of the planks loose to free K. Noi. Suthep Prommul, chairman of the Moo Baan Phuket Villa 5 committee, was one of many neighbors who watched the incident this morning. “We saw everything that happened and tried to stop him. But, he just said, ‘Stay away, it’s none of your business. There’s no problem; I know what I’m doing is right.'” K. Noi, who is married to a Swiss man who is currently out of Thailand, contacted the House Doctor Co Ltd early last month to upgrade paths around her house, create a car parking area, and repair the eaves around her roof. She says the agreed price for the work was 100,000 baht, and that even when she asked for more work to be done, it was verbally agreed that this would be included in the same price. K. Wichai disagrees. He told the Gazette that K. Noi knew that the additional work would entail greater cost. The two visited Phuket Town Police Station in an attempt to find a solution, but failed. Case investigator Pol Maj Sanya Tongsawas of the police station told the Gazette, “I need to get more information from K. Wichai about what happened this morning. We’ve been trying to contact him all day but have been unable to do so. “Until we can talk to him and get the information we need, we cannot charge him with either illegal entry or confining someone against their will.” Gazette reporters did manage to contact K. Wichai. He said, “This morning wasn’t a big deal; in fact, I was worried that my workers would do something more drastic if she did not pay. Everyone knows who’s right and who’s wrong.” K. Wichai added that immediately after his workers had finished boarding K. Noi and her children in her house, he went with the workers to Phuket Town Police Station. “I wanted to meet with the police officer who had attempted to solve the dispute yesterday, to inform him about what we had done, but he was not there,” he said.

Phuket News

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Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

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