The saga of a British man who has barricaded himself in a condo in Phuket Town amid a tenancy dispute continued as the fire brigade was called in amid fears he might jump from the ninth-floor unit, prompting emergency services to respond and a visit by the Phuket Governor.
The Australian-born Brit, David Maclean, 50, from Brisbane, has not left the condo since Jan 14 amid a dispute with the landlady over paying the rent.
The landlady, Utumporn Tantivit, has filed a formal complaint with police alleging that Mr Maclean has refused to pay B8,000 in outstanding rent after moving into the condo in October on a six-month lease agreement.
Mr Maclean, in an email sent to The Phuket News giving a detailed account of his version of events, says that he refused to hand over the money after he was refused receipts confirming the payment had been received.
In the ensuing spat, attempts to enter the condo have have failed, as have attempts by Tourist Police to convince Mr Maclean to open the door. Police became involved only after receiving the formal complaint on Friday (Feb 1).
Matters took a turn for the worse yesterday after police feared Mr Maclean would jump from the balcony at the back of the ninth-story unit, prompting police to call in the Phuket City fire department, which deployed an inflatable landing cushion down below.
“He didn’t open the door and talks with a representative from the British embassy failed, so we left him in the room,” Capt Eakkachai Siri of the Phuket Tourist Police.
Both police and the representative from the British embassy have repeatedly stressed that their primary concern is for Mr Maclean’s welfare and that the situation is resolved safely.
“Officials and police then left the scene. Nobody wants to break open the door. We are afraid that he might jump,” said Capt Eakkachai.
“At this stage we no plans to take further action, but we are following the situation closely day by day,” he added.
However, Capt Eakkachai gave no explanation of why police believed that Mr Maclean might jump from the condo.
Emergency services were called to the scene at 3:10pm, after two hours of talks had failed.
Phuket Governor Phakaphong Tavipatana arrived at the scene along with high-ranking Phuket City Police officers to assess the situation.
At a meeting of the officials involved at the condo tower it was later agreed to wait for Mr Maclean’s permit to stay to expire on Feb 21, after which officers will the legal authority to enter the condo by force. – Phuket News
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