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'Terror in Thailand' will trigger a diplomatic firestorm immediately

'Cry Rape' Case to Light Diplomatic Firestorm

Wednesday, August 29, 2012
PHUKET: Former Phuket tourist Stevie Bamford appeared on prime time national television across Australia last night in a current afairs story headlined 'Terror in Thailand.'

Mobile telephones would have begun jangling on Phuket, in Canberra and in Bangkok immediately. And it's likely that the real terror has only just begun.

The reporter on the 7.56 minute segment briefly confessed to the possibility that the Phuket ''cry rape'' Aussie could be lying.

Yet 'Today Tonight' went ahead and alleged in quite pointed fashion that she'd been set up by the Thai police and the Australian embassy.

As with the diplomatic community's fuming reaction, the young Sydney woman's notoriety is probably just beginning.

Last night's one-sided 7.56 minute show stereotypically took Stevie Bamford's word for what had happened.

Remove the supporting cast - the boyfriend, the father and the priest, all of whom were on screen purely for huff and puff - and what's left is Stevie Bamford's word.

The word of a woman convicted by a Phuket court of lying in saying that she was raped by a Phuket tuk-tuk driver.

The word of a woman who managed to convince a prominent Australian television show that she had a case.

The real crunch came in this exchange between the reporter and Ms Bamford:

Q: The Australian Embassy were telling you to lie?
A: Basically yes, they said 'It's in your best interests.''


That exchange will ignite a firestorm of indignation, a diplomatic kerfuffle that is likely to be widely reported as the Australian Government dismembers 'Today Tonight's' coverage.

Most intriguingly, last night's show used photographs of a woman's back and legs displaying scratch marks and bruises.

Yet the reporter did not say that these were Ms Bamford's scratches and bruises, or where and when the photos were taken.

The photos were the silent and sole supporting evidence for Ms Bamford's story.

While the reporter nit-picked over the Phuket security camera footage that showed Ms Bamford's movements at the time she alleged she was raped on Phuket, the photographs and their significance went unmentioned.

Instead of sending a reporter to Phuket to thoroughly investigate Ms Bamford's allegations, the producers of the show settled for the quick, cheap option: the boyfriend, the father and the priest in Bangkok.

In doing so, 'Today Tonight' backed a preposterous allegation: that a female Australian embassy official worked in cahoots with Thai police to frame an Australian citizen.

It was a well-crafted television slur. But the lack of investment in real journalism may eventually cost 'Today Tonight' dearly.

Comments

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She got away lightly on Phuket with her lies. I don't think she's going to be so lucky this time.

Posted by agogohome on August 29, 2012 09:01

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Commercial Television is a joke these days. Anything for a good story. Facts are not important anymore so it seems. I wonder how much she got paid for HER story.

Posted by Anonymous on August 29, 2012 09:19

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I hope a full inquiry is carried out on this matter, these type of supposed current affairs programs have always take cheap shots in journalism, they rely on sensationalism, therefore no cred from me 100%.

Posted by coxo on August 29, 2012 09:24

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whilst i don't for a moment believe ms. bamford's allegations, are in this case, true, i do believe that if thailand's police force had a better reputation internationally for actually upholding the laws of the land rather than for accepting bribes to turn a blind eye then she wouldn't have a leg to stand on.
i also agree that (some) 'journalists' these days use the job description very loosely!!

Posted by another steve on August 29, 2012 09:24

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Let the fireworks begin...

Posted by phuket expat on August 29, 2012 09:48

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It would appear that Alan Morison has never seen 'Today Tonight' before. Using "real journalism" and "Today Tonight" in the same sentence is a dead giveaway. This is Australian TV's equivalent of a British tabloid.

Posted by Anonymous on August 29, 2012 10:55

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I can't believe this woman hasn't learned her lesson. She spent 15 days locked up in a hostel after admitting she lied about being raped, now she's spouting the same "i was raped" spiel ... and accusing Oz embassy officials of corruption. What a pity TT didn't try to contact the local cops, or the motorbike rider who took her home that night. You are right, it was a pretty sloppy job by the TT reporter. I hope, like the Beer Mat Bandit, this woman is exposed and punished - properly this time.

Posted by Lucky on August 29, 2012 11:42

Editor Comment:

An alarming aspect of the coverage is certainly the fact that TT takes an attractive young Australian at her word, even if she is a convicted liar. She claims to have been fitted up and ''laughed at by 30 policemen'' in a room at Patong police station (rooms there aren't that big) TT fails to find a single policeman who can respond. Apparently TT's view of the world ends at Australia's rim. The show is unbalanced in more ways than one, and perturbing. What a pity they didn't do it properly.

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Its an interesting one and you have to consider how much do you believe the police in Phuket. Talk to the tourist police to get an idea on how many deaths are written off as suicide to ensure there is no bad publicity. it is all hear say and im surprised at how many people make stern comments with out any facts. im on the fence again cause i dont believe either of them..

Posted by dave66 on August 29, 2012 11:48

Editor Comment:

If tourist police are telling you that, then they're winding you up because of your susceptible nature, dave66. Ask your honorary consul or ambassador for an accurate response. You say ''im on the fence again cause i dont believe either of them'' but TT hasn't given both sides to the story, only one.

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I give up making a free speech comment on Phuketwan as if I say anything negative about this woman you do not print it. Someone at Phuketwan has a soft spot for her. I do not think the Police or the Consulate set her up, more likely the fame she seeks. I thought Phuketwan was a democratic news paper as it should be in a democratic country.

Posted by HappyFarang on August 29, 2012 12:10

Editor Comment:

Your comments have to conform with the law and the basic democratic concept of fairness, HappyFarang. Just to make the point how different your definition of democracy is from our definition, I'll close with a segment from your unpublished ''democratic'' comment. But if you ever pretend to be an advocate of democracy and free speech on this site again, it will be Goodbye, Happy Farang. Here for other readers is just a little of your idea of democracy and free speech:

''Australian cheap tourists with little money (she did not even have enough money for a motorbike taxi, if her boyfriend had not been in the room another problem) and her rubbish boyfriend throws money at the taxi driver. Shame on both of them, white trash the pair if them.''

Shameful, HappyFarang. Shameful.

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I see the island's two "newspapers" have totally ignored this latest development. An interview with Honorary Consul Larry Cunningham (who was present when the police questioned this woman)would be interesting and most revealing.

Posted by Lucky on August 29, 2012 12:25

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"takes an attractive young Australian at her word,"

Editor first of all if you call that attractive?

As far as I'm concerned she is ugly and she knows it!! that's why she has to plaster her face in make up
Also she is a spoilt little drama queen always seeking attention..

As for TT these Aussie current affair TV shows are nothing but smut plain and simple and they do anything for ratings.

Posted by Anonymous on August 29, 2012 13:12

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This story will only continue if the Australian Government decide it is in their interests to respond to what is only a regional cable TV station renowned for this type of unbalanced sensationalism. The British TV series "Big Trouble in Thailand" was supposed to "ignite a firestorm" because of the allegations made in it. It died a death as will this story.
The audience for these programmes are those who don't know or care about the other side of a story and are not really interested when they do!

Posted by Alan on August 29, 2012 13:13

Editor Comment:

Regional cable tv? It's one of the top-rating shows on Australia's most popular network, with - and I haven't checked the figures - perhaps 1.5 million to two million viewers nightly. Totally different to 'Big Trouble.' Thousands of citizens/viewers are being told their embassy staff on occasions work against them. Big, Big trouble . . . .

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The real victim in all of this probably does not know what's to come. That is, the next tourist this happens to in Phuket, or wider Thailand, will not get away so lightly. They will be incarcerated until they have served their (now probably lengthy) jail term. Well done Stevie Bamford.

Posted by Jon on August 29, 2012 14:14

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''Australian cheap tourists with little money (she did not even have enough money for a motorbike taxi, if her boyfriend had not been in the room another problem) and her rubbish boyfriend throws money at the taxi driver. Shame on both of them, white trash the pair if them.''
PW I do not get taxi's with no money and I certainly do not throw money at taxi drivers. Why are you supporting this segment of tourists, it gives the other tourists and foreign residents a bad name. I hope your threat "But if you ever pretend to be an advocate of democracy and free speech on this site again, it will be Goodbye, Happy Farang" was not that you were going to try and kill me but that you would not let me post on your site again.

Posted by HappyFarang on August 29, 2012 14:58

Editor Comment:

Name-calling when you are not even courageous enough to use your own is not democratic, nor is it ''free speech,'' Happy Farang, except perhaps in your mind. Even people of dubious character have rights. Try respecting them. And Phuketwan is not a democracy, it's a benevolent dictatorship.

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Maybe TT should sponsor her return to Thailand, to prove her 'innocence'.

More interesting will be the response of the Australian diplomatic community. Surely she should be tried in her own country for perjury, or sued for defamation.

However, one thing is assured. Next time another is convicted in Thailand of lying in court about any offence, they will be more harshly punished as a consequence to her behavior.

Posted by Logic on August 29, 2012 15:07

Editor Comment:

My reading of it is that all female diplomats involved in consular work at the embassy could probably consider legal action. The gender of the embassy officer involved was revealed last night. Not using a specific name won't save you in Australian courts, where whole cricket teams have sued for libel and won.

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(moderated)

Posted by HappyFarang on August 29, 2012 15:25

Editor Comment:

The conversation is over, HappyFarang. Deal in a reasonable manner and add something to our collective knowledge, or don't bother.

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Looking forward to hear more about the diplomatic firework, nothing yet to be found on google, maybe tomorrow.

Posted by Bjarne on August 29, 2012 16:06

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Unlikely I know, but what if her allegations are correct?

Posted by Darren on August 29, 2012 16:42

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If this Tuk-Tuk driver had been found guilty he would have got 10 years, that's what someone should get if they lie as she did.Although this chap was innocent he will for the rest of he's life have a cloud over he's head in some peoples eyes.

Posted by Terry on August 29, 2012 19:32

Editor Comment:

There is no tuk-tuk driver. No individual was ever accused. You should read the articles again.

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If that report harms Thailand I would be really surprised. I give Aussies more credit than that.

Posted by John on August 30, 2012 02:30

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Storm in a tea cup.
Other media in Australia have ignored it and even Today Tonight only has a few lines about the story on there web site while every other story that night has a transcript.

Posted by Arthur on August 30, 2012 05:52

Editor Comment:

Don't speak too soon, Arthur. Most media take time to cover stories that aren't blindingly obvious.

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No one else is running with this story for obvious reasons other than TT as they are trying to resurrect her destroyed reputation for whatever reasons and I suspect it is because of a family contact.

Posted by P Win on August 30, 2012 06:07

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As you are a former senior newspaper journalist, I am appalled by your comment that; "Most media take time to cover stories that aren't blindingly obvious." I am even more appalled that it is unfortunately true.
In this case, however, I feel that the print media simply don't want to give this woman and her story more oxygen.

Posted by Lucky on August 30, 2012 07:27

Editor Comment:

Print media journalists show disdain for stories that break on television. If anything I've said appalls you, you are very easily appalled.

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Phuket should sue her in both Thai and AUS court for damages to Phuket. Women's rights groups should step in and assist this spoiled brat, she needs "assistance". Wish someone would put pressure on her boyfrind and see if he stands by this garbage on TT.

Posted by Brad on September 1, 2012 10:57

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@brad and anyone else, who thinks this girl should be sued, prosecuted etc, by anyone in Thailand, especially Phuket, this would only encourage certain Australian media to pursue the story further, this would lead to exposing MORE of Phukets "underbelly", slang term for crime, to the world, does Phuke really want or need this to happen.

Posted by dbate_me on September 1, 2012 12:58

Editor Comment:

No harm in that, unless you've got something to hide, dbate_me. Odd that you'd even suggest it would be a problem.

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@ED, certainly NOT a problem for me, but I can only imagine a few people would be thinking no no no, we have too much too hide, or too much to keep quiet, from prospective um, well lets just say customers.

Posted by Dbate_me on September 1, 2012 14:35

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This story makes me sick to my stomach! I am a young Australian woman who was raped by a tuk tuk driver in Phuket several years ago. The fact that someone would make up a story like this is beyond comprehension. I went through hell fighting my case for over four years before it was finally dismissed from court despite there being concrete evidence against the man accused. I believe this girl has set the [moderated] thai legal system back decades. No woman with a legitimate case will be taken seriously for a very long time.

Posted by Anonymous on September 1, 2012 18:30

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I have no comment on her behaviour but I can say that I have once been offered less than legal or just advice by my embassy in order to limit the damage (to me).

It was a genuine attempt to help with no pressure whatsoever but did reflect the prevailing realities in Thailand where justice is often available only to those with money and power.

Only opinion I have to offer is that, once again, transparency from the authorities would put an end to this discussion.

Publish the indisputable (video) evidence and kill these rumors.

Posted by Andrew on September 1, 2012 19:22

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I sent an email to TT before the show went to air. The EP called me about an hour after I sent the email. The TT program clearly do not employ journalists. They do not believe in getting both sides of a story. They get one side and run with it. The EP confirmed this and dismissed everything except what Stevie said. It is a tabloid program that very rarely gets the facts right.

Posted by Doug on September 7, 2012 09:43

Editor Comment:

In the interests of balance, we'd welcome a TT response to Doug's post.

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Soon this issue will go quiet and TT and the girl got what they want. Thai government and Thai embassy are too lazy to take proper action !

Posted by Jesse on September 8, 2012 09:06

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actually it happened! if none of you believe it ask the police to provide the full tapes!

Posted by james on September 15, 2012 18:19


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