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Buckets of different sizes that tourists mix and drink on Phi Phi

'I Was Drugged, Robbed,' says Phi Phi Visitor

Tuesday, August 25, 2009
A BRITISH holidaymaker has told how he was drugged and robbed on Phi Phi, a popular resort island close to Phuket where ''bucket'' binge drinking is rife.

His efforts to warn other tourists about the dangers of being targetted for a robbery come as statistics reveal the wide extent of robberies, mishaps and deaths of Britons worldwide.

''I guarantee it was something I drank in Phi Phi that triggered all this off and I believe I was targeted,''.Jeremy Thomas, 37, told Phuketwan.

While he was unconscious, Mr Thomas believes he was stripped of his expensive dive watch, wallet, cash and a ring.

''I think some people on Phi Phi are probably doing this to see who they can catch out or who it has the worst effect on, and that they are adding things to drinks,'' he said.

''Bucket'' drinking is popular on Phi Phi, with purchasers mixing large quantities of spirits, soft drink and energy drink to taste and sucking the combination through a straw, carrying the bucket with them wherever they go.

Back home in Shropshire, Mr Thomas, a computer consultant, provided details of what happened after he and his wife arrived on Phi Phi on Wednesday, August 5.

Two evenings later, he left their hotel about 9pm to go and have a tattoo done in town on the side of the beach, close to the pier.

''I left the tattoo place at about 10pm and we walked through the town to the other beach,'' Mr Thomas said. ''I sat outside a bar watching the fire show.

''A waiter came over and asked us what we'd like to drink and offered us a bucket. My wife said No, but I twisted her arm and said Yes.

''I think I was probably OK for about a further 20 minutes or so, but I can't be sure.

''I remember going to the toilet, which is based behind the bar in some bungalows, then it all becomes hazy, then nothing for me.

''My wife apparently asked for a beer as she didn't like the bucket, then at some point soon after she went to the toilet.

''When she came back, I had gone. She apparently waited for a little while before going back to the hotel alone to see where I had gone, but I wasn't there.

''She asked the hotel staff for help and they then came down onto the beach with her looking for me.

''I have no recollection past this point, but they found me back towards the pier, asleep in a shop doorway, having been robbed, at about 4am.

''However, at this point I didn't realise [I had been robbed], as I still didn't have a recollection of this. My wife walked me back to the hotel and she was pretty angry as she didn't know what had happened.

''I started to come around and have a patchy recollection of walking back to the hotel where I went straight to bed.

''At some point over the next 30 minutes, my wife asked me what time it was, and I realised my watch had gone. By this time it felt like I was awakening from a deep sleep and just starting to properly realise where I was.

''I said my watch had been taken, then noticed my ring had gone and checked my shorts, and my wallet had been taken as well.

I also had some small scrapes on the front of my shins and wrists. We went down to Phi Phi police station and had to wait for about 30 minutes as no one was there.

''They asked me what had happened and I explained and they took a statement. I then went back to the hotel, cancelled cards etc over the phone and arranged a transfer of money.

''We went back down to the bar at some point during the day and tactfully asked what they knew. But we understood our presence wasn't welcome and we left.

''Early evening I had heard nothing from the police, so I went back down alone to the police station, but I was starting to feel pretty unwell: very thirsty, walking up and down steps was making my heart race, me sweat, faint.

''The police said they had been to the bar and asked them but the owners said they knew nothing. I asked for a drink of water at the police station and actually now remember asking the police man where the hospital was as I was starting to feel sick.

''He did say 'You need a doctor now' and I can't remember what I said, but he filled in a crime report, asked me what I had lost, was quite interested in what everything was worth, but didn't actually put any values on the crime report as far as I can tell, and that was that.

''We went back to the hotel and I lay down and sometime over the next hour or so I started to feel very ill indeed, started throwing up, dry mouth, couldn't hold water down, my back-kidney area started aching, I was roasting and sweating one minute then shaking the next.

''I couldn't seem to concentrate on anything and was having bizarre thoughts flying in and out of my head and I started to get quite confused.

''This went on all night, but when my wife fell asleep I started getting panic attacks, was thinking someone else was in the room.

''My wife told me to wait until the morning then we could go to the hospital. I had a horrible evening like this and was waiting for it to get light so I could go to the hospital.

''I was feeling paranoid about going out in the dark alone, not just after what had happened, but my mind had started playing tricks on me due to whatever was now wrong with me.

''I went down to the hospital at about 8am on Sunday morning where they did a blood test, blood pressure test, temperature and urine test.

''The doctor said my blood pressure was high, I had a temperature and the only unusual thing in my blood was I believe he said my platelets were low. He kept asking me if I had a sore throat but I didn't.

''And that was that, really. I started feeling a lot better Sunday evening, having drunk a lot of the rehydration sachets that had been prescribed, but we didn't really leave the hotel again after that before we left on the Tuesday.

''I know what the islands are like in Thailand and most people know each other and I felt like we'd kicked up a stink so both me and my wife felt uncomfortable thereafter.''

Mr Thomas said he emailed the British, American and Norwegian embassies but received no response.

A young American, Jill St Onge, and a young Norwegian, Julie Bergheim, died in mysterious circumstances on Phi Phi in May.

Phi Phi's most senior police officer, Inspector Prasit Yoodthong, told Phuketwan today that without more evidence, it was difficult to pursue Mr Thomas's allegations.

''We questioned the bar staff,'' Inspector Prasit said. ''If we had had the bucket, we would have been able to check a sample.

''One problem we have on Phi Phi is fraud, where people claim they have been robbed to get the insurance. There are not many robberies like this one.''

For Mr Thomas, there will probably be no going back. ''I think my wife would rather forget it all, but sadly she does not ever want to return to Thailand, despite the fact that we actually met in Thailand while she was working there as a teacher in Bangkok.''

The latest British Behavior Abroad Report, released today, showed 812,000 British visitors to Thailand in the year to March, 41,000 British residents, 54 arrests involving drugs from a total of 202, 288 deaths, three rapes, 843 consular cases and 774 passports lost.

A total of 198 Britons were hospitalised. A previous report made the point that as a proportion of visitors and residents, Thailand showed the highest rates of hospitalisations.

As a proportion of the number of visitors, Britons were most likely to be arrested for drug offences in Thailand, United Arab Emirates, Cyprus and Pakistan.

There are currently 22 Britons facing capital charges worldwide.

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Comments have been disabled for this article.


Unfortunately this was of your own doing. I think falangs "robbed" you. You did not have to drink, but you did and now you pay for your sins. Don't blame us residents or locals. If your wife does not want to come back, so what, many many other people do want to come and visit Phi Phi. They don't drink till they flop, so they leave with happy memories and happy snaps. What did you learn ,not to be a duh and drink buckets, moderation kiddo.
Now you learn Phi Phi lesson.

Posted by Mouse on August 25, 2009 13:18


Why oh why do people drink these disgusting buckets? A bottle of the skankiest Lao Kao - see the photo above - it's what the local alcoholics drink. People, what's wrong with a couple of beers?

Drink a bottle of that stuff and sure you're gonna get drunk and fall over and have bad after effects. Chances of finding who robbed him? Nil. Could have been anyone on the island, could have been another tourist.

You won't catch me drinking a bucket!

Posted by Jamie on August 25, 2009 16:07


After living in Phuket for early 10 yrs I have experienced many things. For me this smells of a scam(s) gone wrong.

I know from experience not to mix the likes of coke, Sang Som, and M150 in large volumes. I spent 2 days in hospital with my heart racing and after and EKG & chest X-rays was told I had an irregular heart beat that needed further examination by a specialist

If someone then adds a rohypnol type substance to the cocktail in an attempt to rob them. Then maybe this cocktail could be a fatal mix.

Just my opinion, but times are hard and people are desperate.

Be careful

Posted by Anonymous on August 25, 2009 19:41


I believe we as Farang think the word Police means Police like it does in the West. We are Wrong and westerners should be notified.

Posted by Anonymous on August 25, 2009 19:43


My my, drink till you drop. You try this one in Cape Town during the 2010 football, and you will never wake up. All parts of you will be stripped, sold and used for everything from muti to lampshade covers. Dont drink in public and pass out. It is everywhere. It is not a scam. Don't tar thailand with your misadventure. Phi Phi is cool.
Ed: I know mouse, was with him when he sent his comment, his comment was not printed, but looks like we only only want bad comments to reflect here ? Sorry only asking ?

Posted by Graham on August 25, 2009 20:02


good morning all.
I rest my case with the following quote from media watch this morning.
Phuketwan MediaWATCH

A daily wrap of Thailand news, with a Phuket perspective and reports from national and international media.

" Research by Britain's Foreign Office shows that behavior often changes on holiday. More than a third (35%) of holidaymakers from Wales admitted drinking more, while over a quarter (28%) said they were more likely to carry around large sums of cash. And more than a fifth of people (21%) from Wales have found themselves in trouble while on holiday in the past. More than eight out of 10 Welsh respondents said they were ''embarrassed'' by the behaviour of British people abroad. This was due to a lack of respect for local culture (88%), bad manners (79%) and drunkenness (82%)."

Posted by Graham on August 26, 2009 07:28


Yes, Thailand is safe. Yes, Thailand is safe. Yes, Thailand is safe ..

Posted by George Orwell on August 26, 2009 08:36


Yes, the English are sober. Yes, the English are sober. Yes the English are sober...

Posted by Oliver Reed on August 26, 2009 18:44


You find that most incidents can be avoided by simply having a normal level of awareness and a little common sense. Stories of drinks being spiked have been around for a long time although I've not heard it happening in Thailand with any more frequency than anywhere else in the world. It's up there along with don't drink and drive, don't rent motorbikes if you can't ride one and don't swim in the sea when the red warning flags are on display. In the light of day, these and many other equally obvious bits of advice make perfect sense. Unfortunately there are holiday makers that forget to pack their better judgment when they leave home.

Posted by Steve on August 26, 2009 22:55


Thailand is not safe at all. I lived here 26 years. I know everything. Mr. Mouse your comment is pathetic. Theft, murder, rape it all goes on and no one cares except the victims and their families in their countries and Mr. Mouse or should I say Mr. Noo knows everything I do perhaps better than me!!
The disrespect for foreigners of some people in the tourism industry make things worse!!

Posted by anonymous on August 27, 2009 05:26


Hello anonymous, who says I am a Mr.cheeky sod. I will let you know these crimes happen in every country around the world. If you think Thailand is so bad, after 26 years, why are you still here, pai baan dude !
Thailand is safe, it is the wrong doers that find it not safe ok ?

Posted by Mouse on August 27, 2009 17:28


More bad news for Thailand.

When was the last time something cheerful about Thailand appeared for foreigners to see?

Editor: Mostly Thailand is wonderfully welcoming and hospitable. It's news when it's not.

Posted by Cat on August 31, 2009 08:18


Even if you are in the shady parts of London or any other city in the world, you might be mugged, robbed or raped for that matter, you have to play it safe, people go to thailand for fun, sun and a very nice time, not get drunk, puke your guts out, behave like an animal,
i have been to thailand 6 times in the last 3 years and have not come across anything like this, and have always stayed in or around the hot spots, like bangla road, walkin street, etc etc,
phuket is heaven !

Posted by happy_feet on August 31, 2009 14:48


Wow and this off an overseas web site.

There have been occasional reports of scopolamine drugging perpetrated by prostitutes or unscrupulous bar workers for the purpose of robbery.* (Scopolamine is a powerful sedative.)* Tourists have also been victimized by drugged food and drink, usually offered by a friendly stranger, sometimes posing as fellow traveler on an overnight bus or train.* In addition, casual acquaintances met in a bar or on the street may pose a threat.* Travelers are advised to avoid leaving drinks or food unattended, and should avoid going alone to unfamiliar venues."

Posted by Mouse on September 1, 2009 21:25


Firstly im English i have been a reguler visitor to thailand (patong) in particular since pre- tsunami. I have noticed the scams have got worse the double pricing the indian tailors the constant harassing of the girls on soi kebsab now we have gangsters shooting each other in broad daylight have the police arrested any suspects yet mr Noo. Ask the chinese tourist who was asked sorry told by a jet ski operator that he wanted 50k for damage as reported on phuketwan today your greed and scams have caught up with you around the world now thailand is becoming a destination on the decline that is why so many hotels are up for sale on phang na gha and khao lak no tourists i wonder why ??????

Posted by billy dale on September 2, 2009 00:35


Just be glad that not everyone has a simple mind like the poster Mouse - and can appreciate that bad things do happen. All sympathy to the victim, and by publishing stories like this the ignorant may begin to see the truth.

Posted by colin on September 2, 2009 22:35


I read alot of denial by westerners regarding the dangers in Thailand. All I can say is "som nam na" (serves you right) when they experience a little "Thai hospitality" themselves!

I was in Mission Hospital years ago for an infection. The falang man next to me in the emergency room had been drugged and the Thai girl had stolen everything he owned! This isn't something new in the LOS.

As badly as a tourist might behave, he doesn't deserve to be drugged, robbed, thrown off a balcony to his death, shot, knifed, bludgeoned to death, run over on the roads, etc, etc.

By the way, have a great time during your stay here!

Posted by the rat on November 5, 2009 08:24


Dear Editor,

Why does your definition of "news" have to be something other than a "wonderfully welcoming & hospitable" experience? I would personally like to hear some stories of good experiences, etc but they just appear to be in short supply here!

Editor: Most travellers to Thailand have enjoyable holidays, as we constantly point out. But that's hardly 'news'. Our aim is to accurately report the whole picture, especially the need for improved safety and security. When everyone is treated fairly and there is no crime, we'll let you know.

Posted by the contrarian on November 5, 2009 11:09


Ok, fair enough! I'll be waiting for that to happen...

Posted by the contrarian on November 5, 2009 12:22

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