The family of a “hero” British father who died as protecting them from a “naked” hotel guest who barged into their room, have paid tribute to him.
Amitpal Singh Bajaj from Southall in west London was beaten up by a man staying in the room next door at the five-star Centara Grand Hotel on Karon Beach in Phuket, Thailand, according to his wife.
Police in the country were reported as saying Mr Bajaj had complained to the fellow guest about loud noise and that a fight then broke out.
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Bandhna Kaur Bajaj said she and her husband, who were on holiday with their two-year-old son, had been woken by loud noises from the neighbouring room and found that someone was trying to knock open their balcony door.
She said a naked white man “barged in through the balcony door and stormed aggressively” towards her husband in a statement released through the Sikh Press Association.
“My husband tried to block the man and move me and my son away,” she said. “As the man was kicking, punching and just beating him up my husband told me to please leave and save our son.”
She added she ran from the hotel and hid with her son under a tree near the spa, from where she called the reception for help.
The woman learned of her husband’s death after he was taken to hospital.
She added: “My husband sacrificed his life to save my son’s life and mine. He will always be our hero.”
Thai police were quoted in the Phuket News as saying Mr Bajaj had confronted a Norwegian tourist in the next room for making too much noise while his family was trying to sleep.
Karon Chief Police Col Prawit told the news portal that the pair began arguing and a fight broke out and that the Norwegian man had broken in to Mr Bajaj’s room via the balcony.
The man was arrested and has been charged with manslaughter and trespass by an act of violence, the news site reported.
A spokesman for the UK Foreign Office said: “We are supporting the family of a British man following his death in Phuket, and are in contact with the Thai authorities.”
A memorial event is due to take place for Mr Bajaj on Sunday evening at the Sikh temple on Southall Park Avenue, where he was a member.
Harmeet Singh Gill, the temple’s general secretary, said the community was “shocked and saddened” to learn of Mr Bajaj’s death “whilst protecting his family”.
He added: “He was well-known, admired and respected in the community for his seva (voluntary work). We pray to the almighty to give his friends and family the strength to get through these difficult times and to obtain justice.”