Brit tourist 'set fire to Thai hotel room after arguing with receptionist'

Brit tourist 'set fire to Thai hotel room after arguing with receptionist'


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Thailand police are scouring for a British tourist who allegedly set his hotel on fire after arguing with the receptionist.

The tourist, 27, screamed at front desk staff at the Y Smart Hotel along Kaew Nawarat Road in the northern city of Chiang Mai yesterday evening.

Moments later, smoke began to billow from his room as he casually left the hotel just shy of midnight.

The blaze ripped through the four-storey hotel only a few hundred yards from a major bus station and two miles from the historic Pae Gate.

Firefights battled to extinguish the fire into the early morning.

Receptionist Sahatsawat, 23, told police that he bickered with the Englishman before he kicked the reception counter at around 10pm.

Fearful of what the ticked-off tourist would do to him, Sahatsawat hid in a nearby store room.

He later saw the guest later packing his bags and fleeing the hotel.

But while grabbing some towels for guests on the third floor, Sahatsawat noticed smoke seeping out of Room 203 on the second floor where the Brit had stayed.

‘The tourist became angry and was shouting at me. I don’t know why, because I couldn’t understand everything he was saying,’ he said.

‘I thought he had left then when I went to check a room I saw there was smoke and panicked.’

Six people trapped inside the third floor as the fire simmered below huddled on their balconies to avoid suffocating from the thick black smoke.

Chiang Mai Deputy Mayor Sunthorn Yamsiri said: ‘We were informed by residents that there was a fire at the hotel, so firefighters were brought to the scene.

‘There was a lot of smoke, and people trapped in the building who had fled to the balconies. It’s fortunate there were no casualties.’

As the manhunt for the tourists continues, police have cordoned off parts of the Mueang Chiang Mai District, a northeastern neighbourhood full of hotels, restaurants and salons.

Major General Thawatchai Pongwiwatchai said: ‘This is a serious case. The officers are urgently searching for the British man as he is the suspect for arson.

‘The fire endangered the lives of many people. We urgently need to find the suspect for interrogation.’

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