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Phuket guesthouse where the second man was found

Update: Mystery Phuket Deaths Raise Questions

Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Phuketwan UPDATE

A spokesman for Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has told us by email: ''We can confirm the death of a 49-year old Australian man from New South Wales in Phuket, Thailand on 11 October 2009. Australian consular staff in Bangkok and Canberra are providing assistance to the man's family. We can confirm the death of a 45-year-old Australian man from New South Wales in Phuket, Thailand on 15 October 2009. Consular staff in Bangkok are providing assistance to the man's family in Thailand. In relation to the circumstances of each death, these are matters for the local authorities. Consular staff from the Australian Embassy in Bangkok are liaising with local authorities regarding the deaths.'' Phuket police add that results of forensic tests should become available in about four weeks. It appears we were misinformed about the date of the first man's death.

Original News Analysis

THE CASKETS of two Australian tourists were airlifted out of Phuket on the same flight to Bangkok last week, a tragic symbol of the secrecy that surrounds sudden deaths among expats in Thailand.

Both caskets contained men who died in sorrowful and mysterious circumstances. What is equally sorrowful, though, is our lack of knowledge about what actually caused the deaths of the two men.

We know just a little, gleaned from police and hospital sources.

One tourist died last Thursday in a Patong guesthouse, apparently after a tryst with two Thai women, while his wife was in another hotel elsewhere on the island.

The previous night, the first Australian tourist died in bed with a bar girl. In this case, instead of disappearing into the night and leaving the body to be found sometime the next day, she alerted the authorities to the man's sudden death.

Police do not believe that there are suspicious circumstances in either case. But the fact remains that two coincidental deaths of this nature inevitably arouse public interest.

A senior Phuket policeman told us: ''People come here and drink too much, they perhaps take Viagra or other drugs, then get very excited.

''Thai women are beautiful. They are much more beautiful than most western women. In this kind of situation, some men simply suffer shock.''

Forensic blood and tissue tests on the two men will probably provide a more professional assessment. But that will take time, and we do not know whether the two men have been autopsied thoroughly in Bangkok or shipped straight home.

Efforts to find out more through the Australian embassy in Bangkok and in telephone calls direct to Canberra, the country's administrative capital, have failed. They always do.

This is because the entire diplomatic community makes the privacy of the families of the deceased its priority at the expense of the travelling public's right to know.

Unlike their British counterparts, the Australians don't even provide an annual summary of the statistics, perhaps offering a sensible analysis of the dangers for those visiting Thailand, or living here.

There is also a sizeable expat community in Thailand, a fairly nervous collection, inclined to always believe the worst. Deaths of this kind inevitably provoke curiosity and conspiracy theories.

When nothing is properly explained, rumor runs riot, damaging Thailand's reputation as a safe tourist destination for 99.9 percent of holidaymakers.

The diplomatic community is collectively locked into this code of silence. In fairness, it has to be said that there are times, as with the jet-ski rip-offs in Patong, where their behind the scenes efforts can work wonders.

But all deaths need a satisfactory explanation.

As the unsolved deaths of Norwegian Julie Bergheim and American Jill St Onge on Phi Phi earlier this year illustrate so plainly, there is a need to know that extends beyond the family to the broader community.

The diplomatic mandarins have to find ways of meeting both needs.
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Comments

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''Thai women are beautiful. They are much more beautiful than most western women. In this kind of situation, some men simply suffer shock.'

ha ha ha.. Superb.

Thought I take it he's not been to Spearmint Rhino ?? I think what he meant was more economical.

Posted by LivinLOS on October 21, 2009 10:19

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''Thai women are beautiful. They are much more beautiful than most western women. In this kind of situation, some men simply suffer shock.''

LOL. Not even the best writers in Hollywood could come with lines like these.

Posted by Anonymous on October 21, 2009 10:57

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Meanwhile Western women like me are nearly dying of shock at the appalling and idiotic comments made by men who should perhaps grab a clue before speaking!

Posted by Lana on October 21, 2009 11:07

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Most whores are beautiful - I bet if you compared Western whores to Thai whores the western ones would win!

Posted by Bobby Brown on October 21, 2009 13:14

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Bet he could never even pull a farang woman.

Posted by Vfaye on October 21, 2009 14:33

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The two cases are not known to me, so I just tell you what generally happens more often then you may think:

The real danger is maybe not so much beauty as toxins (alcohol), enhancers like viagra (or some worse stuff) and hot weather, overheating throughout the day and professionalism on the other side. As anyone is familiar to sudden death when untrained climb high mountains out of exasperation - they just stop walking, sit down and die - something like this can come to play here.

The hot lifts the basic stress level for the body, maybe a little infection is straining a bit too, weak stamina condition, the toxins and medications hinder the body to let the real warning signs get trough. You may feel you can without end, but the body is running very low on reserve and then shutting down abruptly. Normally if the bar girl would also be a doctor, she could start revive and may get the body out of this crisis. But she is not. So you die.

If the girls just sneak out, they should be punished for not trying to help. But maybe they also have something to hide, like drug use eg.

You do not believe this to happen? Ask anyone in the business about sudden death with prostitutes. A lot of stories, but mostly covert up, because of the shame to go this way and who want to sleep in a room... I go so far and say it must had happened in nearly every hotel in Patong.

Posted by Lena on October 21, 2009 15:23

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@Lana, Were you referring to the policemen or the comments ??

Posted by LivinLOS on October 21, 2009 15:39

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The police! Your comment was hilarious, though I'm unsure what/where Spearmint Rhino is (probably don't want to know...).

Posted by Lana on October 21, 2009 18:34

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''Thai women are beautiful. They are much more beautiful than most western women. In this kind of situation, some men simply suffer shock.''
Ahahaha...best joke ever !

Posted by Nadege on October 22, 2009 13:35

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Why are you publishing racist and sexist comments like Thai women are more beautiful then western women? Phuketwan, I used to like you as a publication. This is not acceptable.

Editor: When a senior police officer makes a comment like that, it's newsworthy. Our aim is to cover events accurately, not sanitise or censor. Readers can draw their own conclusions.

Posted by Elise on October 22, 2009 17:22

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Your ability to spin conspiracy theories out of nothing continues to grow. Are you afraid no one will log on to read straight news?

Editor: We don't believe in conspiracy theories. But we do believe people need to be told the facts. Until the results of the blood tests are in, we only have the conclusions of the police to rely upon. As for the 105 deaths in a year . . . the Australian government leaves us to rely on guesswork and supposition. You may prefer to not be told. We want to know the truth.

Posted by matt on October 23, 2009 19:28

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two guys from same home town both dead both heart attacks one 45 one 49 bit fishy

Posted by Anonymous on October 26, 2009 08:09

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... all I can say is the police over there are full of it....the man drank/smoked did use Rhahipnol and all the other drugs found in his system.

Did they also forget he was dragged from the bar on CCT unconscious, they hey presto robbed and left dead in a hotel room????

having just been to Thailand this year and seeing the fraud and crime over there, Aussies and other tourists need to stay away.

Posted by KD on October 28, 2009 11:35

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If they're the sort of slobs that hang around with hookers in holes like Patong, the chances are they smoke, drink like fish, eat poorly and are prime candidates for cardiac infarction. Throw in viagra, kamagra or some other such happy tablet, and they're going to cease to function.

To expect so uneducated farm girl from Isaan to know CPR is frankly pushing it.

Sorry folks, but you reap what you sow.

Statistically speaking there is nothing in either of these deaths that should make them remotely suspicious.

Posted by Harry Barracuda on November 1, 2009 19:16

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Thailand is a dark place. 100s of farang die every year here.

Posted by michael f smith jr on November 1, 2009 21:06

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ok if this doesn't come off as suspicious i don't know what does.

Posted by art1e on November 4, 2009 11:09

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I see that some of the Falangs in their "falang bubble" or "honeymoon period" will say that this is "statisically speaking"...blah, blah, blah, "the deaths are not suspicious".

Let's see those statistics because I have seen them and they indicate that there's a high probablity that many foreigner deaths in Thailand are homicide.

Mr Harry Barracuda, you're doing a real disservice by posting such unsubstantiated generalizations on this site.

Posted by Buster on November 4, 2009 20:44

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2 boys gone from heat, booze and blue meanies (V) with a little brown Asian cutie. How is that sexist or racist?

If the girl stays to report the croak, it's probably legit. The women are not always more beautiful than Western women, just a lot thinner. Is that sexist?

Posted by NY poster boy on November 6, 2009 09:54


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