The Grab vs. traditional transport debate came back with a fury this week — literally — after a GrabBike driver was stabbed by a motorbike-taxi driver in the Khaosan Road tourist area in broad daylight.
The incident quickly went viral after 30-year-old Grab driver Patiharn Sarikapun posted photos of his gruesome injuries on his Facebook page, attracting criticism from alarmed netizens far and wide.
Yesterday, Patiharn told Thai-language outlet Workpoint that the incident occurred at about 11:30am on Tuesday, when a customer ordered a pick-up near Khaosan in Bangkok’s Phra Nakhon district via the GrabBike mobile app.
When he arrived, Patiharn parked his motorbike in order to call his customer — without knowing that the spot was an informal motorbike-taxi station.
Patiharn said that was when 51-year-old Tammarach Khaopa approached him and said “why the f**k are you parking here? Go somewhere else. You’re blocking the way.”
To which he allegedly replied: “How am I blocking you? There’s so much space you can easily drive by me.” That was when he said Tammarach became angry and a war of words broke out.
A few minutes into the argument, Tammarach allegedly retrieved a knife from under the seat of his motorbike. In turn, Patiharn grabbed scissors from a nearby street vendor.
“At that point, I grabbed whatever I could nearby to defend myself… the next thing I knew, he (Tammarach) was in front of me.”
In the end, Patiharn was stabbed in the shoulder, resulting in a grotesque wound.
He insisted that he had no intention of stealing the motorbikers’ customers and added that his family’s livelihood has been greatly affected since the incident as he has not been able to work.
Tammarach, meanwhile, admitted to Workpoint that he snapped due to what he said were Patiharn’s provocative insults, insisting it was Patiharn who started the argument.
Nevertheless, he apologized during the broadcast interview.
“I am sorry… if I could go back, I wouldn’t want this to happen,” he said.
While ride-hailing services remain unregulated in Thailand, drivers of traditional forms of transport such as tuk-tuks continue to get into conflicts with app-based drivers.
Many, including Lt. Col. Phuwadon Unphote of the Chanasongkran police station, believe clear laws and regulations will help sort out the growing turf war.
“Fights between Grabs and motorbike taxis are common because the (ride-sharing) laws still remain unclear,” he said.
The case has been forwarded to the Dusit District Court.