A New Zealand man stabbed to death in a bar in Thailand was a "teddy bear" with a "big heart" says one of his friends.
English-language Thailand news website The Nation said yesterday police had charged Swedish man Andreas Ringvall, 40, with murdering Robert E Hollick, 43, from Upper Hutt.
Hollick was stabbed three times in his neck and back before he was pronounced dead at a hospital.
Mick Geurts, a friend of Hollick's who was with him in Thailand a week ago, said the news was devastating.
"I was only in Pattaya a week earlier sitting with my good friend Rob having a beer. A guy with a massive heart that would do anything for a friend."
Geurts said he thought it was an "unprovoked attack".
"It was definitely an unprovoked attack. I have spoken to my friends that also live in Pattaya.
"Rob is a gentle guy and has never been violent to anybody. He is known by his friends as a big teddy bear.
"Nobody deserves to go like that."
Geurts said Hollick was a harmless guy in the "wrong place at the wrong time", and he was sorry he left Thailand early.
Another New Zealander, who is currently in Thailand, witnessed Ringvall and his girlfriend being arrested.
Phil Hogan said he was walking to his car when he saw the fallout of the attack.
"Yesterday evening I was walking to my car when I saw all the commotion which was on Soi Diana Inn. I witnessed a man wearing a green and white hooped shirt and a Thai lady being arrested and placed in the back of a police pickup."
He said it was about 1.30am but a massive crowd had formed.
"I was reluctant to get close as there was a large crowd already gathering with many people both foreign and Thai taking photos with their mobiles.
"I was actually shocked at the party atmosphere the Thais were displaying like it was all a big joke. Apparently this is how they deal with tragedy so I am told but still find it hard to believe after living here for so long.
"One of the girls I know told me what had happened but she seemed more concerned about the deceased man's dog.
Following the early morning attack, Ringvall and his Thai girlfriend, Dao Pholutsa, 26, were captured by local people and were handed over to police, the report in The Nation said.
Mual Samat, 34, a taxi motorcyclist, told police Ringvall had a quarrel with Hollick after Dao played with Hollick's pet dog inside a bar, the Nation reported.
Samat said after Ringvall sent his girlfriend back to his room, he returned to the bar and attacked Hollick with a knife.
Hollick was the owner of recruitment company Top Dog Personnel in Perth.
Staff member Vanessa Nunn said Hollick set up the company about seven years ago. It specialised in finding earthmoving workers for West Australia's mining and civil construction industries.
Hollick had been semi-retired and living in Pattaya for some time, she said.
She heard about Hollick's death from one of his friends in Thailand who phoned to say he had died.
- © Fairfax NZ News