A member of the defence section at the Australian embassy in Thailand who allegedly crashed his motorbike into a Thai man and left him permanently paralysed has offered just $400 in compensation, according to the injured man’s family.
In the June 14 accident, an Australian warrant officer riding an unregistered superbike collided with 62-year-old Suchart Rotkaew, according to an official police report into the incident.
The police report, seen by AAP, said the collision occurred in central Bangkok when the superbike struck Mr Suchart’s bicycle.
Both parties were injured and unable to make statements. They were taken to hospital, the police report says.
The warrant officer cited the Australian embassy in Bangkok as his address in a claim for diplomatic immunity attached to the report.
Mr Suchart’s son, Veerachon Rotkaew, told AAP his father would never be able to work again.
“The doctor said he had a brain haemorrhage,” and had surgery to the left side of his brain.
“(His left) body, hands, feet, he can’t move at all. He can only move on his right side of the body,” Mr Veerachon said.
Mr Suchart worked as a security guard and owned a small garage.
Mr Veerachon said there had been little contact with the warrant officer since the accident.
“Fees for helping, the travelling expenses, they gave us 10,000 baht ($A400) for that,” he said.
The family will have to rely on Thai social security to care for Mr Suchart. They had hoped funds would be available from insurance payments, but the Thai police report says the Australian’s bike was unregistered, leaving in doubt any insurance claims.
A longstanding restriction on Australian military personnel in Thailand riding motorcycles was recently lifted despite Thailand’s high record of motorbike accidents.
A Defence Department spokesperson said in an email Australian Defence Force members working at overseas posts must adhere to the local road rules.
“Defence generally does not place limitations on personnel operating any type of motor vehicle overseas, provided they meet host-nation licensing and other regulatory requirements for the vehicle they are operating,” the spokesperson said.