As Bangkok struggles to recover from eight weeks of red shirt protests followed by two days of burning and looting, Thai police arrested British citizen, Jeff Savage, for questioning about the Central World Plaza mall fire.
Central World Plaza, in downtown Bangkok, was south east Asia’s second largest mall. It was almost completely destroyed by fires said to have been started by red shirt protesters after the Thai military broke up protests on Wednesday.
A few days before the fire, British man Jeff Savage was recorded on video at the red shirt protest site saying they were going to “burn down Central World”.
On the video, filmed by American Andy McGinley who was at the protest site watching events unfold, Jeff Savage walks past dressed in the same black clothes as radical red shirt protesters. He stops and tells McGinley, “We are going to smash the Central Plaza to s**t and steal everything out of it and burn the f**ker down”.
The video was posted on YouTube and immediately caused outrage among Thai citizens, who couldn’t believe a westerner who was a guest in their country, could say he was planning on doing these things.
Days later, Central World Plaza mall was burned almost to the ground by red shirt protesters.
But now Jeff Savage says he had nothing to do with it. Police, however, aren’t so sure. Particularly as Savage has been quoted in the British newspaper, The Times, saying he was at Channel 3 TV station at the time with red shirt protesters when it was set on fire.
He then went on to say he just watched.
Most westerners living in Thailand are just as appalled by Jeff Savage’s behavior as are the Thais.
As, of course, there are many foreigners in Thailand who do not agree with the government and do support what the core red shirt protesters want – democracy. However, that does not mean it is acceptable to threaten violence, arson, or worse, just because you are angry.
In fact, most westerners (and particularly Jeff Savage’s fellow Brits) who are discussing this on forums all over Thailand, agree on one thing.
If Jeff Savage had anything to do with arson at Central World Plaza or any other building in Bangkok, he deserves to spend a long, long time in a Thai jail.
For the YouTube video of Jeff Savage saying he was going to burn down Central Plaza Mall see below, and yes, he definitely comes off as more than just a little bit unbalanced.