A rivalry among the drivers of two Songtaews, a popular form of public transport in Thailand, escalated Sunday night as the drivers engaged in a violent brawl to vie for customers.
The incident was reported to Pattaya police at 10:30 PM on Sunday night, October 15th. Police rushed to the incident scene at Pattaya Second Road, Nongprue sub-district, Banglamung district, Chonburi province.
There, a group of Songtaew drivers were loudly arguing and exchanging verbal assaults, causing a chaotic scene in the middle of the road. The occurrence attracted a large crowd of foreign tourists, which, according to Pattaya police, had significantly tarnished Pattaya’s reputation as a world-class tourist destination.
The Pattaya News notes that a Songthaew is a converted passenger vehicle originating from a pickup truck. Equipped with two rows of seating, these vehicles have served as an economical mode of transportation in Thailand for many years.
Prior to the police arrival, eyewitnesses said some Songthaew drivers were arguing over parking spots as they vied for passengers. This escalated into a physical altercation, resulting in a woman being kicked in the face. The altercation briefly disrupted traffic before the police’s intervention. The drivers were subsequently taken to the Pattaya Police Station, where they reportedly continued their squabble.
A Thai woman, who demanded confidentiality of her name, told The Pattaya News that she saw her fellow Songtaew driver getting attacked by other drivers. Subsequently, she rushed to help and was kicked in the face.
Initially, Pattaya police charged both sides and fined them for an unreported amount. The officers also had the drivers promise not to commit such behavior again for the sake of Pattaya’s tourism image.
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