A British tourist on vacation with his family in Phuket, Thailand met an untimely death after a Norwegian martial arts expert placed him in a chokehold.
Amitpal Singh Bajaj, from Southall in west London, was allegedly choked to death while trying to protect his family from 53-year-old Roger Bullman, reports the Independent.
According to the victim’s Singaporean wife, Bandhna Kaur Bajaj, Bullman was staying in the next room at the Centara Grand Hotel on Karon Beach. She noted that Bullman barged into their room and attacked her husband.
On holiday with their two-year-old son, the couple had been awoken by loud noises early Wednesday morning. Bajaj then confronted Bullman for making too much noise while his family was trying to sleep, Phuket News reports.
The argument escalated into a brawl after Bullman broke the family’s balcony door open, Karon Chief Police Col Prawit told the press.
In a statement released through the Sikh Press Association, Mrs. Bajaj said a naked man “barged in through the balcony door and stormed aggressively” towards her husband.
“My husband tried to block the man and move me and my son away. ‘As the man was kicking, punching and just beating him up my husband told me to please leave and save our son,” she added.
Mrs. Bajaj narrated how she fled with her son who she later hid under a tree near the spa. She then called reception for help.
She later learned from authorities that her husband was rushed to the hospital but died at around 4 a.m.
“My husband sacrificed his life to save my son’s life and mine. He will always be our hero,” she said.
Bullman, who was found to be intoxicated at the time of the attack, claims the victim stabbed him in his left shoulder with a knife during their argument. Bullman said he used his martial arts skills to restrain Bajaj and did not intend for him to die when he placed him in a chokehold.
Bullman has since been arrested and charged with trespass by an act of violence and manslaughter. The police said the suspect showed no prior intent to kill the victim so he was not charged with premeditated murder.
If found guilty of trespass by an act of violence, Bullman faces a five-year prison sentence, a fine of up to 10,000 Thai Baht ($327) or both. If found guilty of manslaughter, he might get punished with three to 15 years imprisonment.
Bullman had reportedly been released on bail posted at the court.
“The Norwegian suspect admitted that he was arguing (with Mr. Bajaj) and then he went into victim’s room through the wood door on the balcony,” responding officer Maj Techin told The Phuket News.
“The suspect did admit he had the victim in a chokehold. The Norwegian man told me that he just wanted to stop the victim, but he used too much strength,” he said.
Maj Techin also noted, “The victim’s wife told me that her husband and the Norwegian suspect were arguing, and then the Norwegian suspect came into the victim’s room. Then they started (physically) fighting each other. Her husband told her to carry their child out of the room to find help at the reception.”
A spokesman for the UK Foreign Office released a statement of support for the victim: “We are supporting the family of a British man following his death in Phuket, and are in contact with the Thai authorities.”
A memorial at a Sikh temple in Southall Park Avenue, where the victim was a member, was held on Sunday evening, according to Metro.
Speaking on Bajaj’s death, the temple’s general secretary, Harmeet Singh Gill, said the community was “shocked and saddened” to learn how he died while protecting his family.
Featured Image via Facebook / Amit Bajaj (Left), Karon Police (Right)