PHUKET: The Italian tourist stabbed in a random gang attack in Phuket last week has been placed under 24-hour police protection.
Antonio Papaleo, 44, was stabbed twice in the abdomen during a bungled bag snatch at 3am last Thursday. At last report, police had arrested seven of the nine suspects, most of them teenagers (story here).
Mr Papaleo arrived in Phuket shortly after testifying in a mafia corruption trial in Hong Kong, during which he repeatedly received death threats, reported the South China Morning Post (story here).
“He was given police protection in Hong Kong for the duration of his testimony, but the assistance ended when he left the stand,” said the report.
The international organization Reporters Without Borders issued a notice on June 23 calling for the authorities to protect Mr Papaleo (story here), a call the Phuket Gazette heeded by withholding Mr Papaleo’s name from the initial stabbing report.
Phuket Provincial Police Commander Krajang Suwannarat confirmed to the Gazette that Mr Papaleo is now at “a safe location”.
“I have assigned two officers to guard him around the clock,” Gen Krajang said.
However, Gen Krajang and hospital staff declined to clarify whether or not Mr Papaleo had been discharged and moved to a police safe house.
“After his condition improves, it will be up to the victim where he will travel next. While he is under Thai police protection, we will do our best to maintain his safety,” Gen Krajang said.
— Saran Mitrarat