Politician injured in hammer attack

PHUKET TOWN: Patong politician and lawyer Sarayuth Mullum was attacked by a hammer-wielding assailant yesterday, ending up in hospital with seven stitches in his scalp and his right arm in plaster.

K. Sarayuth had just finished lunch with Phuket MP Anchalee Vanich-Thepabutr and her husband at the Sala Muslim restaurant on Surin Rd when the assault took place. His attacker escaped in the ensuing confusion.

Phuket Town police officers rushed to the scene and found K. Sarayuth – a key aide to the former mayor of Patong, Pian Keesin, and a leading member of K. Pian’s Palang Patong Party – soaked in blood and being cradled by K. Anchalee’s husband, Tossaporn.

He was rushed to Bangkok Phuket Hospital. Speaking in his hospital room today, K. Sarayuth told the Gazette, “In the morning I went to Phuket Provincial Hall, then to the law courts. Then I headed to the restaurant for lunch with my nephew.

“We finished our meal at around 1:15 pm and, as I walked toward the car, I was hit violently from behind.

“The first blow was to my head, and I collapsed on the ground. I tried to protect my head, and he hit me again on my head and many times on my arms and everywhere else.

“The doctor says my arm is badly broken,” he added, displaying his injuries.

Asked for a motive for the attack, K. Sarayuth said, “Please don’t write that it was ‘definitely about politics’ as one newspaper has said. It might have been about politics – that’s more accurate.”

He denied another newspaper report that the attack might have been because of a dispute over land in the Koh Kaew area. K. Sarayuth said that his nephew, who saw the attack take place, described the assailant as being short, with red-black skin and short black hair.

“He attacked me from behind. I’m lucky he was short; if he’d been as tall as me, I reckon I’d be dead. The first time, he tried to hit my head very hard but he just clipped it – the doctor told me the wound wasn’t from a full-on blow with the hammer, but from a corner of it,” K. Sarayuth explained.

“I think he must have been following me since I left the court, waiting for the right opportunity to attack me.

“The police have told me I should have a police guard from now until the end of the Patong mayoral election [on November 17], because there is no telling whether he will try to attack me again. But I don’t think he was trying to kill me. I think it was a warning.”

As he spoke, a constant stream of wellwishers came and went. K. Sarayuth estimated that some 200 people had been to see him since he was hospitalized.

Pol Lt Col Paween Pongsirin, Superintendent of Phuket Town Police Station, told the Gazette, “We are following many leads, not just the political angle, and we are looking for more witnesses so that we can identify the attacker soon.”

— Phuket Gazette

Phuket News
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