Tributes have been paid to a British father who is said to have died protecting his family at a hotel in Thailand after a fellow guest reacted angrily to a noise complaint, barged into their room and attacked him.
Amitpal Singh Bajaj, from Southall in west London, was reportedly beaten up by a man staying in the room next door at the five-star Centara Grand hotel on Karon Beach in Phuket, according to his wife.
Thai police reportedly said Bajaj had complained to a tourist in the next room, which shared a partitioned balcony, for making too much noise while his family was trying to sleep and that a fight broke out, according to the Phuket News.
Bandhna Kaur Bajaj said she and her husband, who were on holiday with their two-year-old son, had been woken by loud noises from the neighbouring room in the early hours of Wednesday, and found that someone was trying to knock open their balcony door.
In a statement released through the Sikh Press Association she said a man “barged in through the balcony door”
“My husband tried to block the man and move me and my son away,” Bajaj said. “As the man was kicking, punching and just beating him up my husband told me to please leave and save our son.”
She said she ran from the hotel and hid with her son under a tree near the spa – where she called the reception for help – before learning of her husband’s death hours later after he was taken to hospital at about 4am that day.
“My husband sacrificed his life to save my son’s life and mine. He will always be our hero.”
The Norwegian foreign ministry confirmed that one of its citizens had been arrested in Thailand and was being provided consular assistance, the BBC reported.
The Phuket News said the man was arrested and charged with manslaughter and trespass by an act of violence.
The UK Foreign Office said: “We are supporting the family of a British man following his death in Phuket, and are in contact with the Thai authorities.”
A memorial event is due to take place for Bajaj on Sunday evening at the Sikh temple on Southall Park Avenue, where he was a member.
Harmeet Singh Gill, the temple’s general secretary, said the community was “shocked and saddened” to learn of his death “whilst protecting his family”.
“He was well-known, admired and respected in the community for his seva, voluntary work. We pray to the Almighty to give his friends and family the strength to get through these difficult times and to obtain justice.”