'My Mate Nate' facing charges over coins on tracks

Nathan Bartling (centre) arrives at the State Railway of Thailand headquarters on Monday to apologise for making a video during which the tracks were damaged. (Post Today photo)

YouTube show-off Nathan Bartling is facing charges brought by police and railway authorities after posting a video showing coins being placed on the rails for trains to run over.

Pol Col Kitti Klinsung, a senior officer of the Railway Police Division, filed complaints on behalf of the State Railway of Thailand (SRT) against the 24-year-old American at Prawes police station on Monday. He is accused of trespassing on railway property and damaging the tracks.  

The complaints were lodged after Mr Bartling posted a video on his "My Mate Nate" YouTube account on July 16 showing he was testing the durability of coins from several countries by placing them on the tracks for trains to run over.

The video sparked wide criticism of misappropriate behaviour in setting a bad example for young people and concerns over train safety. He later removed the video.

The video was made near Ban Thap Chang station on the eastern line to Chachoengsao and Aranyaprathet stations. The area is under the jurisdiction of Prawes police.

Pol Col Kitti said railway police found scratches caused by the coins at 28 spots on the Chachoengsao-bound rail tracks and another 10 on the Bangkok-bound side. A damaged 20-cent coin from Hong Kong was found in the area and it was kept as evidence, he added.

The cost of the damage to the track had not yet been assessed.

Prawes police chief Pol Col Alongkorn Sirisongkram said Mr Bartling will be summoned to hear the charges in three days.

Deputy SRT governor Thanongsak Pongpraset said after meeting Mr Bartling on Monday the agency is evaluating the damage.

Mr Bartling, other people appearing on the YouTube video and My Mate Nate Studio must share financial responsibility for the damage, the deputy governor said.

Mr Bartling apologised to the SRT and said he will produce a video promoting the Thai railway and tourism. He denied making the video to make himself popular.

He was immediately taken to the Immigration Police Bureau after his meeting at the SRT to check his documents and work permit.

It is not the first time the American has put himself in the spotlight.

Among his videos have been one making fun of the English skills of Thais and another showing a cat being made to fight a scorpion.

Cat lovers lodged a complaint of animal cruelty against Mr Bartling at Huay Kwang police station in June.

Pol Col Alongkorn said the case will be transferred to Prawes police because his residence is in Prawes district.

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