A local woman was admitted to a Da Nang hospital on Friday after getting caught up in a street brawl involving an elderly American expat--she is scheduled to undergo reconstructive surgery next week.
Nguyen Cuu Thi Thuy Trang, 40, was rushed to Da Nang hospital on the evening of July 27 with a fractured cheekbone and broken septum, according to a doctor's report.
Trang says the blow was thrown by an American expat that police identified as Dennis Marshall Gray, 68.
Gray, who said he didn't recall the specifics of the scuffle claimed he was trying to get away from a menacing crowd being riled up by a taxi driver named Nguyen Quy.
Quy told police that Gray was trying to get out of his fare and had punched and kicked him several times. He claims he dodged the punch that smashed Trang's face .
A local man named Le Van Phuoc, 29, told Thanh Khe District police that he attacked Gray with a bicycle tire after seeing him break Trang's nose. Phuoc's blows were documented in a street video that quickly went viral this week, sparking a heated international dialogue about who was responsible for the unfortunate daylight brawl.
Media reports quoting local police described the scene as the culmination of a long string of fights picked by Gray whom they alleged had a history of similar incidents in the past. They pledged to fine Phuoc and all those responsible for the fight.
Gray, who flew to Ho Chi Minh City to renew his visa, has yet to be questioned by the police, but told Thanh Nien News that he's always had a temper.
No word has yet emerged about Quy, the taxi driver, or the unpaid fare that started the whole disagreement.
In the meantime, Trang seems to have emerged as the unluckiest character in the unfortunate string of events.
“Doctors asked me to stay in the hospital; I've been taking medicine for three days while awaiting an operation. They said the longer we delay, the more difficult the treatment would be, since the bone of my nose will start to heal [incorrectly],” Trang told Thanh Nien News on Friday.
“I had to go home, and run around borrowing money until today to pay the advanced fee of VND 2 million.”
Trang was waiting for a green light on her motorbike at the intersection of the Hoang Hoa Tham and Ly Thai To street on Sunday evening when she saw two men quickly moving away from a taxi. She said Quy was running after Gray, asking the latter to pay his fare.
“The driver shouted: ‘Everybody watch this: this man refused to pay me...tore up my cab's [insignia sticker]...call the police for me please’, as he was chasing this foreigner,” Trang said in a telephone interview. “The driver was grabbing the foreigner's shirt, and the expat tried to escape by kicking and punching at the driver.”
Trang added that many passers-by gathered to convince the men to stop fighting. However, Trang said the foreigner seemed to be drunk and kept lashing out with his backpack at whoever got close to him.
At some point, Quy got in front of Trang and began demanding that Gray pay his taxi fare, prompting the American to let loose a punch. The heavy blow missed Quy and landed in Trang’s face.
“I fell forward on my handlebars, others helped me hold my head up, take off my mask and wipe the blood from my nose.”
“People told me to follow the foreigner and report him to the police, but I just couldn't move.”
A number of bystanders escorted Trang to the Thac Gian Ward police station to report the crime, but she said she became dizzy and began vomiting. Police took her to the hospital.
Chief of the Danang Police Secretariat Tran Phuoc Huong told Thanh Nien News that they have received Trang's petition for redress, which demanded that Gray pay her medical bills and wages lost during her treatment.
According to Thanh Khe police, Gray refused to cooperate with the authorities for the second time on Thursday and instead flew to Ho Chi Minh City to have his visa extended.
Gray said he had an amicable meeting with an investigator in the morning and plans to sit down with police once a friend is free to serve as his interpreter.
In the meantime, he plans to travel to Cambodia soon to renew his visa.