PHUKET TOWN: Kenneth James Nelson, a 51-year-old Englishman, discovered that it can be painful indeed to thwart the aspirations of a tuk-tuk driver. At 8.30 a.m. on January 25, he was walking along the street in front of the Ruangjit Cinema (opposite The Metropole hotel) in Phuket Town when a red tuk-tuk approached him. The driver asked if he needed a ride. Nelson refused and ‘waved off’ the persistent cabbie, who then removed his belt, whacked the astonished tourist in the face, and fled the scene. Muang District police took Nelson to the hospital where he was treated for facial cuts and, shortly thereafter, released. Following a futile search for the belt swinging driver in the area of the attack, the officers assisting Nelson reported the incident to Pol. Maj. Gen. Kongpol Suwannaraks, Commander of the Phuket Provincial Police. He ordered the Muang District Police to locate and arrest the cabbie quickly. “Incidents like this are bad for tourism,” the commander said.
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