It appears to be the first international incident sparked by a water pistol. The wife of a Finnish diplomat has apologised for slapping a four-year-old Thai boy across the face during last week's Songkran New Year festival. The case has appeared to highlight the cultural divide between farangs - foreigners - and Thais. During the event that in recent years has evolved into a good-natured orgy of water and flour fights, Elia Aittola ended up surrounded by a crowd of angry Thais outside a Pattaya police station. Ms Aittola had asked young Jiravat Suntaros and his friends not to soak her as she made her way to a Pattaya restaurant with friends. But in a scene constantly repeated across the nation during the week-long festival, the request was duly ignored. An attempt to claim diplomatic immunity did not work and Ms Aittola spent four hours with Finnish embassy representatives, the boy's parents and local officials to ease tensions after complaints were filed with police. Written and verbal apologies were accepted along with a pledge from Ms Aittola's husband, the embassy's first secretary, that medical bills would be paid.