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Phuket, an island with too many guns, where a crackdown is needed

'Gun Island' Claims Two More Needless Notches

Wednesday, August 5, 2009
Cry from the Heart: More Expats Need Help. See Comments Below


A PHUKET youth has been killed with a gun and an expat American resident is being mourned because of one. Two deaths over three days highlight the easy access to guns on the island.

Chances are that Thomas Quigley, 61, who lived peacefully in Chalong, did not know Saknarin Hongrom, 20, of Bang Tao. Yet they were united by the mechanism of death, with bullets cutting short both their lives.

''If I knew he had a gun, I would have tried to take it away,'' one of Mr Quigley's friends told Phuketwan today.

About 10am on Tuesday, Mr Quigley used the gun, a .22 rifle, to end his own life.

''He was a man of peace.,'' the friend said. ''I would never have imagined that he owned a gun.''

Just a week earlier, Mr Quigley's wife Porn had died of a stroke. She was 59 and her death was unexpected. The friend was among those who tried to console Mr Quigley.

Khun Porn ran a fish and chip shop on the road to Chalong pier and was much-admired by a wide circle of friends from different backgrounds.

Faced with the shock and sadness of his long-time partner's death, Mr Quigley was on the verge of being repatriated to the US, where he has a son.

A well-read conversationalist and a man with a political conscience, Mr Quigley had forsaken the US in the 1970s after taking a stance against the Vietnam War.

''He was a lovely man,'' his friend said today. ''And Khun Porn was delightful, too. She worked tirelessly to keep the business going and could mix easily across cultures. Many yachtspeople on Phuket knew Khun Porn.

''After Khun Porn's death, though, Tommy lacked a support system.''

Less is known about the motive behind the gunning down of Khun Saknarin, who died from his wounds about 6.40pm on Sunday at a house in Bang Tao, before police arrived.

Officers are still hunting his killer, or killers. Little is known about the circumstances of his death, or the motivation behind the shooting.

The young man's body was taken to Thalang Hospital, where one of his friends objected to the media asking questions about the circumstances of his tragic end.

Today Cherng Talay police were able to provide Khun Saknarin's name. An officer said police are still pursuing their investigation.

It is not known whether the weapon in the killing was a registered gun or an illegal weapon.

This week's deaths involving guns follow a shootout in Patong in broad daylight at the same time as the Asean summit last month.

One man was killed and several others were wounded. At least two guns were involved, but police have yet to recover any of the weapons.

With another important Asean summit looming on Phuket in October, officials may take the view that the latest spate of gun deaths is a sign that too many weapons are easily available on the island.

With the leaders of 16 nations due to visit Phuket soon, perhaps a weapons crackdown is overdue.

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Comments

Comments have been disabled for this article.

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All neighbors of Porn and Tom's Fish & Ship Restaurant are deeply touched by that two successive tragic deaths; Porn by natural cause and Tom by despair to live alone and no will to go back to his native USA.

Many longtime expats living in Phuket may be soon in Tom's situation as it is more and more difficult to make a decent income by working in Phuket where competition for survival are on day by day basis more difficult, especially when you get older than 50-60 years.

Immigration rules do not help those longtime expat-residents as in the case they are married with Thai spouse they must have at least 400,000 Baht on their saving accounts and when they are not married with a Thai spouse they must have 800,000 Baht.

Many expats in the 50-60 years bracket who have been working and living in Phuket for 20-30 years are unable to save that amount of money to get a Visa (O).

Those expats with not enough money to survive the Phuket tricky life are the best candidates for suicide and Tom's suicide should be a wake-up to the Thai Administration to help in a better way those expats who spent most of their working life in Phuket hoping to end their lives peacefully, without hassles.

Posted by Whistle-Blower on August 5, 2009 12:47

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Hear! Hear! The whistle blowers comments are valid.

Posted by Graham on August 5, 2009 14:48

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RIP Porn, she was a nice lady.
Though shocked by the news of Tom, it's hardly a surprise. They were together for decades and Tom relied on Porn 100%. RIP Tom.

Trying to link this story to older expats that may face monetary difficulties later is completely wrong.
It's certainly not the governments responsibility to help expats that don't have enough money for a cushy retirement.
One must take responsibility for ones own life choices and take the consequences, too.

Posted by Sir Burr on August 5, 2009 17:11

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Deeply saddened about the loss of Porn. Such a sweet and lovely lady will be missed by many. Tom's subsequent demise, while sad and unfortunate, would be no surprise to anyone who knew him.

Agree that linking this story to older expats with financial difficulties is not quite on. Simply put, Tom was completely unprepared for life without Porn.

Posted by Truespirit on August 5, 2009 20:54

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Tom's extreme response to losing a person of such goodness as Khun Porn is understandable to anyone who knew her. The passing of Porn has also left me deeply saddened. Her warmth and exuberance in the face of constant adversity was inspirational. She faced each day with a smile and a kind word for everyone. Truly a good person. But we can be thankful that her legacy remains with us through her son, Patrick, who is in my thoughts during these difficult times.

Posted by Michael C. on August 5, 2009 21:43

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Linking monetary matters was wrong

Once one's Thai partner dies, one changes to retirement, on the same money, 400,000 baht

Why posters spring to this type of post defeats me.

I knew both people, enjoyed fish and chips as well as their company. Too much loneliness is never an option

Random

Posted by Anonymous on August 7, 2009 10:33


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