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Black Mercedes driver in Bangkok gives the finger to an ambulance carrying a seriously ill passenger

by Carla Boonkong & Son Nguyen The Thai Examiner November 13, 2019

Online and media outrage over the incident has led to an investigation of the car’s owner which is a company in the ​​Ramkhamhaeng area of Bangkok. On Tuesday evening, a security officer revealed that the company’s directors drive the luxury cars but are considered polite and kind-hearted people.

There was public outrage in Bangkok on Tuesday after a viral video surfaced on TV media showing a luxury Mercedes on a city highway refusing to give way to an emergency ambulance transferring a seriously ill patient from one hospital to another. The incident has led to calls for new laws and penalties as well as indignation towards the driver of the executive car who showed a complete lack of respect for human dignity and life.

Ms Nucharin, the 47-year-old wife of the seriously ill man who was in the ambulance on Monday last, when the incident happened, says she was saddened by it. She gave interviews to the media. A driver of a black Mercedes impeded the path of the ambulance on an urban highway before turning off and giving the finger to the driver. The media later traced the car to a Bangkok company in the ​​Ramkhamhaeng area of the city.

A Thai ambulance driver in Bangkok has told the media that every second can count for seriously ill or critical patients being transferred from emergency sites or between hospitals.

Warutpho Sikaew was speaking to reporters after a story erupted on Tuesday following a viral online video which showed a black executive Mercedes car refusing to give way to an ambulance on a busy Bangkok highway as it transported a patient with a serious medical condition from one hospital to another.

47-year-old wife of the seriously ill patent was in the ambulance with him during his transfer

The 47-year-old wife of the seriously ill man was on board the ambulance as it struggled to weave its way through busy Bangkok traffic when the incident occurred.

Mr Warutpho, the driver, was anxiously sending signals to the gleaming black Mercedes in the right lane in front of him, impeding their progress, to clear the way but the expensive car stubbornly held its course.

Finally, as the Mercedes car was about to turn left in any event, to exit the toll road, it moved off course but not without the driver lowering the window and sticking his arm out to make a disrespectful gesture using his finger to the emergency vehicle on active duty.

Video uploaded by a concerned Facebook user

A video showing the occurrence was uploaded to Facebook by concerned netizen Dung Kasemphong who was saddened more than anything else about what he had witnessed.

‘This happened today with my little brother. Fancy car but no heart, not only did he remain blocking the road, but he gave us the middle finger,’ he noted as he left it for others to see and make their own judgment.

Thai woman hurt by the incident

Nucharin, the 47-year-old wife of the patient aboard the ambulance was understandably hurt by what happened when reporters caught up with her after the story made the TV news.

She explained that her husband was being transferred from Phyathai 2 Hospital to Phyathai Sriracha Hospital. His condition was a serious one and, therefore, the ambulance was flashing its lights and helping to clear the way to allow him to reach the second hospital.

Asked the Merc driver to consider if his relative was the patient in the ambulance

She told reporters that she felt sure that if the driver of the Mercedes Benz had a relative in a similar situation, he would not have acted like that.

She was heartened by the support they had received and confirmed that her husband was now under the expert care of the doctors at his new hospital.

Ambulance driver also concerned for the luxury car driver due to his failure to assist

Mr Warutpho, the ambulance driver, told the media that he also pitied the driver of the Mercedes car as such incidents are an opportunity to show charity and make merit by people going about their daily business.

He again emphasised that the care and deference shown by other car drivers makes a significant difference to patients in all situations especially in emergencies.

Car owned by a Bangkok company

Follow up enquiries revealed that the luxury black Mercedes sedan is owned by a company in the ​​Ramkhamhaeng area of Bangkok. A news crew visited the site of the company on Tuesday evening and encountered only a security guard.

Directors cars says a security guard at the Bangkok company but explained they are good people

He confirmed that such cars are driven by directors of the concern. However, he explained that in his experience, they are all kind and considerate people. He concluded that the car must have been in the hands of a stranger when the incident took place.

Calls for a change to the law

It has also emerged that the Mercedes driver was breaking the law with his selfish and uncaring driving.

A lawyer named as Mr Decha Kittiwittayanan interviewed by the media in the aftermath of the controversy has called for penalties to be increased for failure to comply with existing legal provisions which place a responsibility on all car drivers to make way for emergency vehicles.

The maximum fine under Article 76 of the Thai Traffic Act is a paltry ฿500.

However, it may be a different story if such a failure by a car driver to make way could be shown to have led to a loss of human life although prosecutors would have to show causation.

From: THE THAI EXAMINER (THAILAND) November 13, 2019

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