Police say naked American ‘poo-thrower’ at airport on sleeping pills, not sex drugs

Cho running naked through the airport, left, and being apprehended by police, right. Photos: Phuket Airport CCTV and The Phuket News.
Cho running naked through the airport, left, and being apprehended by police, right. Photos: Phuket Airport CCTV and The Phuket News.

The New Yorker taken into custody for roaming the halls of Phuket International Airport naked, and for defecating in the hall and attempting to throw it at staff and other travelers, had “overdosed” on sleeping medication, not sex drugs, say police.

The American, Steve Cho, 27, was taken into custody by airport security late last Thursday night after his bizarre nude behaviour was brought to their attention. At first apprehensive to take him into custody, a total of six officers were finally forced to physically restrain Cho as he had failed to respond to requests from the security team.

Excessive force was not used, airport security said in a public statement issued on Sunday in response to a deluge of comments posted after videos of the incident went viral online.

Airport security also noted in their statement that Cho had confessed to overdosing on “sex drugs,” and that he had defecated on the carpet in front of the toilets near the baggage check in the Departure Hall – and tried to throw it at airport staff and other passengers.

However, Sakoo Police Chief Col. Jirasak Seamsak said yesterday that he had handed pills recovered from Cho’s belongings to staff at Thalang Hospital, who he said dismissed the pills as only “sleeping medication.”

Hospital staff did not clarify specifically which drug the pills contained, Col Jirasak added.


However, Ambien, a strong hypnotic sleeping medication popular among Americans, can cause blackouts and strange behavior that the user does not remember. Sleep eating, driving, shopping, and even firing a gun have been reported from people under the influence of the medication, according to The Huffington Post.

“After the American tourist calmed down, police found some pills among his clothes,” Col Jirasak said.

“I can confirm that his behavior was not from the effects of sex drugs, as published in the press. We sent some of the pills to Thalang Hospital and doctors there confirmed that they were sleeping pills, but said they were quite potent,” he explained.

“Regardless, the man obviously had some sort of mental breakdown. We did not charge him and he boarded a flight out of Phuket with his friends on Friday,” Col Jirasak confirmed.

“No charges were pressed as the airport said they would take care of the cleaning bill for the carpet themselves,” he added.

Story: The Phuket News

Subscribe to the WTF is Up in Southeast Asia + Hong Kong podcast to get our take on the top trending news and pop culture from the region every Thursday!


Reader Interactions

Leave A Reply


Support local news and join a community of like-minded
“Coconauts” across Southeast Asia and Hong Kong.

Join Now
Coconuts TV
Our latest and greatest original videos
Subscribe on