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A British gymgoer was brutally punched in the face with a dumbbell – after he refused to give up a bench press in a Thai gym.
Gary Reed from Hastings, East Sussex, was busy lifting weights when a fellow gymgoer stormed over to claiming he had been waiting to use the equipment at the Coco Fitness gym in Pattaya on May 17.
The 46-year-old told the stranger that he wanted to finish his set before giving up the bench press and pointed to other benches which were available.
Gary said the other man appeared to accept the situation and he returned to working out.
But moments later the man returned with a 1kg dumbbell and lunged at Gary, cracking him in the face with the seven-inch metal bar.
CCTV footage of the shocking incident shows Gary lying on the bench when his attacker approaches.
After being hit in the face, Gary staggered to his feet and took cover before trying to stop the man from striking him again.
The altercation lasted almost a minute before Gary was able to lock him in a bear hug. The attacked then fled on foot.
Gary said he needed 60 stitches following the alleged assault.
He also suffered a fractured right eye socket, bleeding on his retina, and needs a CT scan to check for brain damage.
‘There was no queue for using the equipment so I just laid myself down on the bench to start lifting weights like I normally do,’ Gary said.
‘Then this guy just walked over and said he wanted to use the bench press.
‘I was like “mate, just let me finish, I’ll be done in two minutes”, but he wasn’t having it. There were others available to use, so I think he was looking for a fight.
‘I carried on working out then he just came at me from behind like a coward and proper smashed me in the head.
‘As far as I’m concerned, he could have killed me.
‘This was a piece of metal as big and almost as heavy as a hammer. I’m lucky it didn’t knock me out.’
Gary said he had already paid £579 (25,000 Baht) in medical fees, which could increase if he needs surgery and further treatment.
‘This guy was still trying to hit me but I was strong enough to overpower him then he legged it,’ Gary said.
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‘I’ve been left with a big hospital bill, so he needs to pay for that. I want the police to catch him so he can’t do this to anyone else.’
Gary has reported the incident to Thai police who are investigating.
Police Lieutenant Khunthum Khantiwong said: ‘We already have the identity of the attacker from the gym’s membership log and encourage him to cooperate so he can explain his side as well.
‘If he doesn’t hand himself in we will find him and he will be questioned about the attack on the CCTV video.’
Officers have not disclosed the suspect’s identity while investigations are ongoing but it is understood a man’s Coco Fitness membership has been terminated.
Pattaya is a city on the east coast of Thailand known for its bustling nightlife making it a popular destination for tourists and ex-pats alike.
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