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Foreigner accused of threatening Phuket taxi driver with knives

PHOTO: CCTV screenshot/77Kaoded

A Phuket taxi driver has accused a foreign woman of threatening her with knives in a disagreement over the fare. The driver, named in a Phuket News report as 35 year old Ladda Saengthong, says she picked the woman up at Phuket Airport on Monday night, April 1.

She has been named as 30 year old Nadiya Serhiivana Varshava, who was born in Ukraine and is travelling on a Portuguese passport.

Initially, Varshava asked to be taken to a villa in Baan Pakrongcheep, in the sub-district of Thepkrasattri. However, while on the way, she asked to be taken to Rawai instead, with Ms Ladda explaining this would cost an extra 1,500 baht. According to the driver, Varshava agreed to this.

The passenger then asked to stop in Patong on the way and was again told that this would increase the fare. Varshava then asked if she could smoke marijuana in the taxi, offering to pay extra to do so. According to the report, Ms Ladda agreed.

On arrival in Patong, it’s understood Varshava got out of the car and walked around for a while, then got back in and the taxi continued to Rawai.

However, on arrival at the One World One Home Naiharn Hotel in Rawai, it’s reported that Varshava got out of the taxi without paying. Ms Ladda followed her into the hotel demanding payment but Varshava allegedly refused.

A number of videos have been posted online that show their interaction, including footage of Varshava walking to a small kitchen in the reception area and picking up two knives. She then walks back to the driver, holding the knives behind her back and saying, “A hundred metres from here, what did I say? What did I say?”

Ms Ladda responds, “Okay, we go”, at which point Varshava walks away.

A different video shows Varshava arriving at the hotel and then getting in an argument with Ms Ladda, with the latter making a phone call. While speaking to the media later, the driver says she called the police and Varshava was taken to Chalong Police Station.

Ms Ladda told reporters that she too went to the police station to file an official complaint over the incident. She also claims that Varshava left the station and got in another taxi without being interviewed by police.

For their part, the authorities say they have seen the videos circulating online and want to bring Varshava to the station for questioning. However, they have not confirmed if she will face any charges. Ms Ladda says she wants them to do their job, adding that officers are already familiar with Varshava due to “previous incidents”.

“I would like to entrust the officials to do their job with fairness and straightforwardness and bring the said tourist to justice as soon as possible. Because otherwise tourists with such behaviour might cause a scene like this with other people.”

The dispute is the second such altercation between a foreigner and a Phuket taxi driver in as many days. An Austrian national is in custody following an alleged attack on a driver who asked him to stop smoking in his taxi.

SOURCE: The Phuket News

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