Irish Teacher Breaks Silence On Skytrain Attack




Bangkok, March 23 012

John Behan – the international school IT teacher – and the subject of a massive internet attack for breaking BTS rules – after he was attacked by guards for bringing balloons onto the Bangkok skytrain – has turned out, not surprisingly to be a personable young man.


Last night he gave interviews to Thai television in which he carried himself off well despite of course having to face the inevitable ‘Why did you break the rules?’ questions.

On Thai television – closer to the truth


He admits he however that he was hurt by comments made by people who did not know what happened and said he looked forward to seeing the video of the attack on him, so that everyone could see for themselves.


But he’s understandably upset because he was attacked not once but now it seems on four separate occasions.


Attack one: Came after he kicked over a waste paper bin put his way to stop him after being pushed by a guard. Two more came along and laid into him.


Attack Two: Came after Behan, already bloodied, kicked one of  them.


Attack Three: Came after just as he was about to board a train when a pack of guards laid into him and his friend with scanners causing injuried to both.


Attack Four: Came after he wiped blood off himself with a guard’s tie.


The CCTV cameras show the attacks. Behan has reviewed them. The video revealed exclusively on this site shows only a period between the attacks when he made his way through the barrier and up to the platform after he was was attacked with a guards, who beat him repeatedly on the head with a scanner.


People have argued that he was a danger to the public by bringing the balloons on to the sky train. They could explode, it was said, injure people, or cause panic. Someone has even posted a video on to show how a hydrogen filled balloon explodes!


‘Remember the sarin attacks in Japan’, was one chorus, on Pantip Plaza and Sanook, Thai websites.


At Thonglor Police station Behan showed wounds on his head and legs. No sky train attendant has shown any wounds, despite allegations that HE attacked THEM.


He said he may have made a wrong decision, but in no way did it justify the attack on him.


“I am not perfect, but I am certainly not the person they have painted me to be (online)”.


Behan, went to Trinity College, Dublin, probably the best university college in Ireland. If anything he is over-qualified for the job he is doing but not doubt he is here for his wife and daughter and also loves Thai people and Thailand.


Meanwhile transport officials were still being quoted as saying the balloons could have been explosive.


(This is worrying because I am buying balloons all the time for my kids. Actually no its not. Its rubbish. They do not explode, just frequently pop)




Picture: John’s blue and green ballons grounded.


But transport officials have also apologised and offered a bouqet of flowers.


Contrary to earlier Thai reports that his Thai wife was with him at the time of the attack, the woman in the video was actually a third country national revealed today as Burmese, who came to offer him support.


That’s good. And I thank her for her support. An Indian national also came to his aid. I do not think now I even need to see the original CCTV videos.


I spoke to John. He has not brought charges against the security guard, he says. He does not want anybody put out of a job. He has brought complaints against the BTS who sold him the ticket and Group 4 who employed the guards.


No charges have been laid against him as yet, he insists, despite public statements. He is angry because while the company has apologised, he cannot accept their apology while they continue to issue false statements, one of which that he kicked a member of their staff.


The first video, he says, shows the guard lunging at him without provocation and hitting him over the head. The most angry thing he did prior to the video already shown was to kick a rubbish bin.


But that is not all, while Gee Gee’s video, shows the fracas before he went up the stairs to the platform it does not show, the second attack on the platform itself.


“We were waiting on the platform for the train. There were a few guards standing about. When the train arrived they were on me, about seven or eight of them.


“You cannot see the punches in the CCTV footage but you can see as cleary as day a guard hitting me over the head with a baton or something.  That is the wound at the top of my head for which I received five stitches. After that we all left the station.


“I am more than happy for all the CCTV footage to be shown.”


He has received good support from his school but has been advised to alter his journey home frequently and perhaps wear a hat when travelling.


Meanwhile there appears to be some doubt as to whether balloons are banned completely on the BTS. Reports indicate that this is not a hard and fast rule and up to the discretion of each station, though its not hard to see there might be restrictions on balloon sellers.




 Breaking News – March 26 2012


A Burmese woman, the one prominently seen in the video as John Behan, his friend, and daughter, come through the barrier at Pomphrong  BTS station, after the controversial first attack on him, has broken her silence and sent a 1200 word report to this site.



The woman who calls herself Cho Pho Phyu said she offered her support because she could not stand seeing what had happened. She sent the report before returning to Burma/Myanmar.


She said she saw the incident from beginning to end, citing four attacks on John Behan. I am not writing this as a separate story because the brouhaha is quite out of control on the internet. No matter what she says, people will still find a reason to renew personal attacks.


For instance he did shout and swear and at one point did kick a guard – but that was AFTER he had been severely beaten.


But it is significant that that this is now the second witness at the scene, discounting Behan himself, who confirms that the violence on Behan was unjustified. Moreover she says Thais at the scene were also angry.  The only people attacking Mr. Behan, it seems are internet warriors.


Cho Pho Phyu was following Behan and his friend ten days ago when a ‘tiny little guard’ stopped them.


She was held up as they argued with each other.  Behan was telling the guard that the balloons were his daughters and were a gift from school and he had been on a train with balloons many times.


Behan went back to the information counter. He raised his voice so Cho Pho  Phyu went back to hear Behan explaining again about the balloons. His friend was trying to persuade Behan to give them up. The Thai staff was also yelling at him.


A guard blocked them with a waste bin Behan used the ‘f ‘word in relation to the balloons not the guards but they may have misunderstood.


‘The guards did not understand because they don’t speak English. This is one weak point in Thailand.’


Then she said the tiny guard started pushing Behan ‘ and yelling at him in very bad words’.


‘His daughter started to cry. The Irishman said ‘do not touch me you are attacking me in front of my daughter’. But the guard did not listen and pulled his shirt and continued to yell at him.


‘It made him more angry, all of a sudden it came out worse. The Irish man kicked the waste bin, pushed the guard back and tried to escape from them.  Two guys ran out from the information counter and boxed him many times.



‘What I saw was one of the guys from the information counter who punched him with his bracelet. Because of that the man’s left eye brow was cut deeply and bleeding badly too. The two young men boxed him and ran back to their counter.


‘ I saw it so I asked staff to bring them out here and I see that they had cut his eye brow.’


The guards, she said, pretended they were not involved.


‘One officer lady came up and I told her that the boy had cut him. She replied ‘Yes. Yes. Yes.’ There was a lot of blood on the floor and his face was covered.


“‘All that happened was in front  of his daughter. She was calling her father loudly and she was panicking too.


‘And again the guards pulling him saying hospital! Hospital! May be they tried to say he should go to the hospital.


‘The man looked panic and kicked the guard. I think the man might think the guards were attacked him again. That was why he kicked him ,it was his self-defense.


“They were yelling ,pushing and pulling each other.


‘The man’s friend was helping him to cover his body.


“His daughter was there and crying . So I asked her to come and stay with me , otherwise she would be hurt. Stay away from them. I told her that and I tried to take her out from them.


“The Irish man was alone and there were 3 or 4 guards abusing him in front of the many passengers.


‘ Other people were also angry with guards. Yelling at them, pointing at them.


‘I and his friend asking him to go to the hospital as soon as possible .Then his friend brought him up stair  I was taking care of the little girl and went to the upstairs too.


‘When the train arrived, she said,  Behan was holding his daughter’s hand and with his friend all went to board the train.


“‘Oh my god. Many guards were coming at him and pulling him back from the train onto the platform and beating him up again . The situation was really bad.


“Some of guards held  him and some of them beat him up with their scanners. His friend tried to escape but it was too late.


“Also the guards beat his head and his head was cut and bleeding badly. One guard beat his leg many times too.. At this moment I and some of the Thai girls and boys wear taking care of his daughter.


‘I don’t understand their (the guards) behavior at all.’


‘Then I suddenly got the idea to call his wife. I got the number from his daughter, but unfortunately my phone did not work. But one of the Thai boys offered his phone. Then we called his wife and one of the Thai girls talk to her about her husband on phone then we let the little girl talk to her mom too.


‘The Irish man’s friend talked to the BTS’s staff and stop them. Actually one of the Thai men who looked like an officer got them to stop.


‘Then we told him that his wife would be here in any minutes soon. Then he thanked to us and went down stairs again.


“When he went to down stairs one of the guards was beside him, the man just wiped his blood with that guard’s tie.


“Oh my god, the guard punched him again.  Many people saw that happen including me. We shouted at him and stopped him.


‘You know what that guard said ? ‘This is my tie now it is dirty’.


” And I told that guard, he is a human I mean the Irish man is human and his daughter’s got half of Thai blood.


“Thanks, hopefully it will help you. I’m leaving tomorrow.


“Really, three of them had got ambushed.’


Was John Behan in the wrong? Yes, he had admitted in hindsight that he did the wrong thing.


Was this excessive violence? You betcha!