South East Wales

Vale of Glamorgan family knocked out in Thai street attack

Thai attack scene Image copyright YouTube
Image caption The family were left unconscious after the attack

A family from the Vale of Glamorgan has been punched and kicked unconscious during a street attack in Thailand.

The holidaymakers needed hospital treatment after the assault in Hua Hin during the Thai New Year celebrations.

The three victims have been named as Lewis and Rosemary Owen, from Wenvoe, and their son John Owen by the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT).

A TAT spokesman said Royal Thai Police has charged six people with grievous assault.

CCTV footage at the tourist resort shows a brief argument taking place before the attackers punch and kick the victims.

The attack took place on 13 April but details only emerged after the CCTV footage appeared online.

Mr Owen, 68, an electrical engineering company boss and his 43-year-old son, a graphic designer who lives in Singapore, both suffered blows to the face and body.

The footage shows retired hairdresser Mrs Owen, 65, knocked to the ground by a punch. When she sits up again an attacker delivers a kick to her head.

The images also show a large crowd watching the unfolding scene in the busy street as all three are beaten unconscious and left on the pavement.

Image copyright AP
Image caption Thai police with two of the suspects

Police spokesman Chaiyakorn Sriladecho said the attack started after the son accidentally bumped into one of the Thai men.

He told the Bangkok Post: "The men say they are sorry and that they wouldn't have done this if they weren't drunk."

The father and son required stitches for head injuries, while the mother sustained serious head and eye injuries, the spokesman said.

A TAT spokesman said: "The Tourism Authority of Thailand would like to express our deepest sorrow to the family who were subjected to the assault in Hua Hin during the Songkran celebrations.

"TAT would like to assure international travellers that this was an isolated incident, not targeted on any group of foreign tourists in particular."

'Very upsetting'

The family have now been allowed to leave hospital and Mr and Mrs Owen are expected to return to the UK next week while their son has returned to Singapore, the TAT said.

The couple's daughter Ceri Venable, 38, has kept in touch with her family from her home in Barry, Vale of Glamorgan.

"My parents are in hospital abroad," said the mother-of-two.

"It is very upsetting. But I really don't want to talk about it right now, sorry."

Mr and Mrs Owen's neighbours in Wenvoe said the couple had been going to Thailand for a month every year with no problems for 20 years.

David Cannan, 72, said: "This is a terrible shock I know how much they love the Thai people and this would be the last thing they would have expected to happen."

A spokesman at Glamorgan Electrical Repairs based in Splott, Cardiff, where Mr Owen is a director, added: "He's a lovely bloke and we're trying to find out more about it.

"The phone has been red hot with people asking about him."

Image copyright YouTube
Image caption The street was crowded with people before the attack

In the video of the attack, a passerby also appears to come under attack from several men after trying to intervene in the melee.

A contributor to the Hua Hin internet forum said they had tried to the help the family whom they recognised from a nearby bar.

They wrote: "Within 20-30 metres of leaving the bar the Thais were punching the 65-year-old lady in the face!! The elderly gentleman was down on the floor and their son was beaten very badly!!!

"At this point I caught up to the scene and pushed one of the youths away from the woman...

"I got severely punched and kicked for my troubles, but felt the need to protect this frail lady."

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) said it had no information on the family's condition.

An FCO spokeswoman said: "Our staff have been in contact with the family to offer assistance and will remain in contact with the local authorities."

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