Wachira Phuket Hospital has issued an open letter to the island’s Russian-speaking community, demanding they abide by the rules and behave correctly.

Wachira Phuket Hospital has issued an urgent appeal to the Russian-speaking community in Phuket to abide by hospital rules and behave correctly by Thai law. The statement was issued in response to a recent spate of incidents involving Russian nationals, including the latest case in which a man refused to pay a medical bill and a woman threateningly displayed a baseball bat to hospital staff.

The letter, specifically addressed to the Russian-speaking community, was signed by Metawi Manisri, Wachira Phuket Hospital’s head of international department.

‘Dear Russian community in Phuket,’ the letter begins. ‘Please see the attached information from the daily police report of the incident at Wachira Phuket Hospital. It should be noted that the behaviour described in the report is unacceptable to us. I want to emphasise that I am ready to assist and cooperate with all those involved in medical cases only on the condition that patients follow standard procedures and respect government laws and regulations.’

Mrs Metawi stressed the importance of cooperation from all parties for the peaceful lives of Phuket’s residents and expats.

‘Medical services are not provided free of charge. I urge everyone to have health or employment insurance and strictly follow the queue as Thai citizens do,’ Ms Metawi said.

‘I promise to serve and provide help and advice whenever it will benefit you in a medical case, as many patients have experienced. However, I urge everyone to abide by the rules to ensure a harmonious community environment.’

The letter, dated Saturday, 20 April, was sent to the Phuket News asking it to publish an appeal for the Russian-speaking community on Phuket Island. Attached to the letter is a copy of a Phuket Town Police report confirming Metawi’s complaint of a threatening incident involving a Russian patient.

According to the report and Metawi’s account of the events, the 48-year-old Russian man, Sergei Cent, was treated on Thursday, 17 April, and left the hospital without paying a treatment bill totalling 8,380 baht.

On Friday, 19 April, Russian Cheng returned to Wachira Phuket Hospital to see doctors again. Metawi and other hospital staff asked the Russian patient to pay the unpaid bill totalling 8,380 baht.

The Russian refused to pay the bill and threatened the staff, boasting of his wealth, personal influence and acquaintance with high-ranking Phuket police officers. Chent was accompanied by a woman with a baseball bat in her hands, referred to in the police report as ‘Sergei Chent’s girlfriend’.

‘The couple brought a weapon, a baseball bat, to the hospital. The man caused chaos at the hospital and displayed threatening behaviour towards staff and showed that he knew senior police officers,’ the police report said.

The situation was resolved by arriving police officers from Phuket Town Police Station, about 700 metres from Wachira Phuket Hospital. Sergei Chent was taken to Phuket Town Police Station, where the Russians agreed to pay a hospital bill of 8,380 baht. It has not yet been confirmed whether the Phuket City Police Station has pressed charges against Chent or the woman with the baseball bat.

Metawi, in her statement to the police, demanded that Phuket Town Police take legal action over the behaviour of a Russian man, Chent, and a woman with a baseball bat at Wachira Phuket Hospital. The incident was not a misunderstanding as the Russian man purposefully ‘wanted to scare, behaved like a mobster and claimed that he does a lot of business in Phuket and knows influential people,’ Metawi said.

    ‘I want to state to the Russian community that members should not behave like this man. Please stay in Phuket in peace and maintain good relations. This is what I want to convey,’ Metawi told the publication.

The incident coincided with Prime Minister Setthi Thavisin’s visit to the Region 8 police headquarters in Phuket, where the prime minister emphasised the importance of applying the law impartially, especially against foreign influencers who put themselves above the law.

‘Don’t allow foreign mafia to settle in your area of responsibility and ruin the region’s investment appeal. Ask local officials and politicians to keep an eye on foreigners. Don’t let badly behaving foreigners undermine your credibility,’ Prime Minister Settha Thavisin said.

‘Nowadays, society is giving more importance to the issue of foreign businessmen coming to work illegally in the country. Please intensify your checks and do your job with tourism credibility in mind. I specifically instruct you to deal with those ‘big men’ who exhibit mafia-like behaviour. Keep your efforts to catch only small fish. The law must be enforced properly, fairly and strictly,’ Seththu added.

Prime Minister Seththa Thavisin was accompanied by Acting Commissioner of the Royal Thai Police General Kitirat Panphet, Assistant Commissioner of the Royal Thai Police Lieutenant General Thatchai Pithanilabutr and Commissioner of the Tourist Police Lieutenant General Saksira Phueakam. Also, on 20 April, Major General Panumat Bunyalak, Deputy Commissioner of the Immigration Bureau, arrived in Phuket on a separate visit.

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