American charged with manslaughter in Pattaya

Jose Polanco Jr (in white T-shirt) talks to Pattaya police at the police station on Monday. (Photo by Treenai Chansrichol)

PATTAYA: Police have charged an American who allegedly punched an Australian who died later in the resort town on Friday evening.

While Jose Polanco Jr, 44, an American national, was at Ruby club on Pattaya 6 Road in Bang Lamung district, he saw Benjamin Robb, 43, an Australian national, argue with Roong-arun Sangsuwan, a Thai woman. Mr Robb then squeezed her neck and lifted her off the ground until her face turned blue, police said.

At this point, Mr Polanco intervened and a dispute followed. Mr Polanco punched Mr Robb’s face and he fell to the ground. Mr Robb was later sent to Pattaya Memorial Hospital where he was pronounced dead later of brain injury.

Mr Polanco did not flee and report to police on the same day. He was initially charged with injuring others causing death, punishable by 3-15 years under the Criminal Code.

Mr Polanco denied the charge, saying he only defended himself. He did not apply for bail.

Police said they had sent reports to the embassies of the two countries and the case would go to court.

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