Last Tuesday, Wilgrie Gapas, a Filipino taxi driver waiting for his passenger outside Ambassador Supermarket in Salmiya was stabbed thrice by assailants believed to include a Bangladeshi national along with two other staff and an Indian manager of the supermarket.

In an exclusive conversation with The Times Kuwait from his hospital bed, Gapas explained that during the last Ramadan period, Filipino taxi drivers waiting for customers outside the Ambassador Supermarket were ordered to leave by the store manager. After a heated argument with the drivers, staff of the same store mobbed and beat up a taxi driver.

Last Tuesday evening, the same manager came out and ordered Gapas to leave the area while he was waiting for a passenger. “I don’t know what was wrong, I was not inside the store but waiting for my passenger who was inside and doing her groceries. I tried to explain to the manager that I was not there to pick passengers, yet he insisted I leave,” explained Gapas.  The manager left and came back with three other staff armed with knives. Seeing their threatening approach, Gapas and a friend who was with him ran for their lives.However, while running, Gapas tripped and fell down, which allowed the supermarket staff to mob around him, and one of them stabbed him on the leg.

Gapas was rushed to the hospital by other Filipino taxi drivers and is currently in Mubarak Al Kabeer Hospital with a broken bone and a stab wound on his leg. The employer and sponsor of Gapas is understood to have filed a police report along with his medical results. “Investigators came to get my statement yesterday and I told them the whole incident, witnesses also are currently being investigated and statements are being gathered to file an attempted murder charge on the assailants” added Gapas.

The incident report has also been sent to Vice Consul Aron Lozada of the Philippine Embassy to assist in filing legal cases against the Bangladeshi national and other staff. Assistant Labor Attaché Cathy Duladul has been advised of the incident and will look into the file of Ambassador Supermarket to decide on whether the supermarket should be placed on a watchlist in terms of deploying Filipino workers.

The Times Kuwait made several attempts to call the mobile phone number listed on its social media page of Ambassador Supermarket, but there were no answers; a visit to the premises was also made this morning, but the manager on duty refused to give any comments.

“I’m appealing to the Philippine Embassy to look into this case, following the two incidents of attacks on Filipino nationals by the supermarket staff. The two incidents of the Filipino driver who was attacked earlier, and my own personal unpleasant experience, call for stringent measures to be taken against the supermarket staff headed by its manager.” He added, “I have been a regular customer of the store, and also do daily grocery shopping for my clients who are working in houses, but to continue patronizing the store will now be impossible.”

Vice Consul Lozada assured Gapas of immediate legal assistance and support.

By Ricky Laxa
Staff Writer

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