Thursday, July 6, 2006

Mongolia, Ulaanbaatar

statement to the police:

After working at my computer last night until 24:00 midnight and sleeping for a couple of hours, I awoke hungry and went to the 24-hour Zochin Buuz located approximately one-half block from my apartment in Chingeltei duureg, 3-r khoroo. I have dined at this restaurant nearly every day for the past six to eight weeks, occasionally late at night. I left my apartment at approximately 03:00 a.m. It was raining.

Arriving at the restaurant, I noted three Australian males seated together in the front room near the entranceway to the back room, and two or three Mongolians seated in the front room. I walked to my usual table in the back room, decided that it was hot there, and moved to the table next to the door.

From the young male waiter (O.Eyambatav), I ordered my usual meal of goulash and niislii salat [salad], with two Coca-Colas. The meal was soon brought out.

While eating, the Mongolians left the restaurant, leaving only the three Australian males with me as patrons.

Some minutes later, two Mongolian males, in their 20s, medium height, slim, dressed in black, entered the restaurant. They took seats at a table in the front room, behind me. As they sat, one of them said something in a harsh tone in Mongolian that I did not understand, though I heard the word “gadaad” [foreign], and then one of them made a loud banging noise on the table.

Approximately fifteen minutes later, the three Australian males left the restaurant. As they walked down the steps outside the window near my seat, I recognized one of them as an old acquaintance, Sam, and I knocked on the window to get his attention. He stepped back inside and we had a conversation in English that lasted for approximately five minutes. He then left the restaurant.

Some minutes after that, the two Mongolian males got up behind me. One of them passed by my table and left the restaurant. The other one, following the first, stopped at my table. He said something in Mongolian that I did not understand and slammed a steel fork in his right hand onto my table in front of me. Seated, I looked at him and said in Mongolian, “Yasan be, minii duu?” [What happened, my little brother?] He then said, “Eh?” He then quickly said again “Eh?” and leaned his face close to mine. I said nothing. He quickly straightened up and then made two or three feinting lunges at me with his upper body and slammed the fork in his right hand into the table again. I did not respond. He then raised the fork to my face and pushed it into my left cheek. I stood up, and immediately the young female waitress (B.Suvd-Erdene) placed her body between me and the Mongolian male, raising each of her arms to our chests. I heard then two other employees of the restaurant saying things in Mongolian that I did not understand. Then the first Mongolian male came into the restaurant, said to me in English, “Don’t worry,” put his hands on the one who had assaulted me with the fork, pushed him out the door, and followed him out the door of the restaurant.

I gently maneuvered myself around the waitress and went out the door. The first Mongolian male was standing at the top of the steps and the perpetrator was walking on the sidewalk away from the bottom of the steps. The male at the top of the steps looked at me and I said to him in English, “What is your friend’s problem?” He said in English, “It is okay, it is nothing, I am sorry,” and then started walking down the steps. I walked back into the restaurant. As I walked in, the young male waiter (O.Eyambatav) looked at me with a concerned expression and I said in Mongolian, “Zugeer.” [It’s okay.]

I sat again in my seat and finished eating what remained of my meal and drank the last of the Coca-Cola. There was pain in my cheek. The fork with which the perpetrator had assaulted me was lying on my table; it was very bent. I finished eating within a few minutes and left the restaurant.

I went directly to my apartment. It was approximately 04:20 a.m. when I arrived in my apartment. I looked at my cheek in a mirror and saw a red gash. I took ten photographs of my cheek and then cleaned my cheek with soap and water and disinfectant alcohol. I transferred the photographs from my camera to my computer. I then left my apartment and went back to the restaurant to record the names of the young waiter and waitress and preserve the fork.

At the restaurant, B.Suvd-Erdene and O.Eyambatav wrote their names on a sheet of paper for me, and Eyambatav located the fork. It had already been straightened. I asked them to keep the fork in a secure place until the police had been notified.

I then returned to my apartment.