Phuket police on Wednesday arrested two Australians on charges of attempted murder after one of them opened fire on a Danish national but the bullets went astray and hit two Germans instead.
The suspects were identified as John Cohen, 32 and Adam Shea, 26, who ran a tattoo parlour in Patong, Kratu district.
The two were arrested after the two Germans, Johann Baschenegger, 42 and Joseph Woerner, 71, alerted Kratu police that a foreigner had opened fire on them as they were walking in front of a hotel in Soi Saensabai, Rat-Uthit road. Both were wounded in the arm.
The hotel's security camera confirmed the claims and the shooter was later identified as Cohen. He was arrested at his shop, about 300 metres from the hotel.
Cohen reportedly confessed that he was the shooter, police said, adding that Shea, Cohen's friend, was also arrested as he was at the scene of attack.
Police said Cohen's target was not the Germans but a Dane, the pillion passenger on a motorcycle driving past the scene. The Dane, whose is name only by the name Dannie, had a legal problem with Cohen over a Bt300,000 motorcycle. Cohen had filed a lawsuit against the Dane and the court had reportedly ruled in favour of Cohen but the Dane refused to pay compensation to Cohen as ordered by the court.
Meanwhile Phuket Gazette quoted Phuket Provincial Police Deputy Commander Arun Kleawwatee as saying, "This is not a complicated case at all. The suspects, afraid that they would be attacked by a party that they were in conflict with, decided to strike first."
CCTV footage shows Cohen and Shea walking into many hotels along the street and asking for the receptionist for Dannie, Col Arun explained.
"That's when they spotted Dannie leaving the hotel on a motorbike. Both ran out of the hotel, and one of them opened fire with a .38 handgun. However, they missed Dannie and hit two German tourists [in front of the Family Mart]," he added.