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Patong 'Murder' an Error of Judgement

Thursday, January 27, 2011
POLICE and embassy officials agree that a Swedish man found dead in his 10-floor apartment in Patong on January 20 most likely wounded himself by falling on broken glass first, then bled to death in a drunken stupor.

Phuketwan's initial report within hours of the discovery of the man's body one week ago, based on the initial impression of police and graphic photographs of what appeared to be stab wounds, concluded that a murder had taken place.

We now accept that our report of the ''murder'' was in error. In many ways, given the constant speculation elsewhere that so many apparent suicides by expats are murder, we are delighted to be proved wrong.

To put the error in context, Phuketwan has published 3500 articles in three years. This is the first mistake that we consider warrants a written apology to readers.

Our ethics oblige us to correct errors. Other news sources bury their mistakes.

Phuketwan has pulled down from the site three articles in three years. One of those was based on minor errors of fact.

On the other two occasions, the articles were pulled to protect sources who felt pressured by employers to withdraw their remarks. All were connected with property reports.

We remain keen to continue to provide news speedily and accurately, and to correct all errors.

Coincidentally, this week Phuketwan revealed the plan to launch Phuket's second weekly newspaper, from March 4. Competition is good for Phuket. Another source of news must be welcomed.

Phuket's media has grown rapidly in the past few years, with more outlets now available across television, radio, online and now print.

Phuketwan is ready to continue to be measured by readers on those two key components of good news journalism, speed and accuracy.

We also plan to continue to dissect events on Phuket and around the region, the nation and the world, and to anticipate and report on essential changes that are now being more commonly accepted by Phuket residents and leaders because of Phuketwan coverage.

Having led the way on Phuket with photojournalism, with reader comment feedback and with a promise of ethical behavior free from self-interest, we are confident Phuketwan's audience will continue to grow rapidly, even if, in an effort to better serve our readers, we sometimes inevitably make judgements in haste.


Comments have been disabled for this article.


You were wrong. Now you have had the decency to apologise. Well done. Enough said - surely.

Posted by Pete on January 27, 2011 12:59


Well done for having the decency to put your hand up and admit to being wrong.

Posted by Phuket Kop on January 27, 2011 16:30


Police and Embassy officials agree that it was an accident. To me that means very little. I still find it hard to believe this was an accident, and apparently the man's friends agree.

Comment from his friend:

I knew Jan for the last 4 years; he would NOT have committed suicide. He was a very sociable man and was always inviting people to his room for a drink and a chat. The police need to really investigate this.There are CCTV cameras in the building that should have picked up who he was with that night. The rest is simple police work. R.I.P., Jan. I will miss our night time chats.

Posted by Tell

Posted by jesse on January 27, 2011 17:23

Editor Comment:

It was not a suicide. What has been accepted as the unusual but most probably course of events is that he was drinking alone, which was apparently not unusual, that he fell and in doing so, smashed an empty bottle or bottles. Two large shards of glass penetrated his back. Although photographs show that immediately behind the bed was an extra-large wall mirror, he apparently didn't realise the extent of his wounds, or was too drunk to notice. He flopped on the bed and died there from loss of blood.
Investigators say this is the probable series of events. We will never know with absolute certainty because Phuket and Thailand do not have coronial investigations of the kind that are considered essential in many other countries. The result is that doubts must inevitably linger, as they do over other expat deaths from time to time.


Honorable thing to do. Congrats.

Posted by Lena on January 27, 2011 17:49

Editor Comment:

I'm not sure that congrats are in order for doing something all professional journalists are supposed to do, but thanks anyway.


In English Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha !

What ajoke !
You had properly had less then half your articles right ! The rest some bullshit we look forward to see every day, it is as goos as the daily carttons in real newspapers !

Posted by peter on January 27, 2011 18:34

Editor Comment:

Your understanding of tragic circumstances matches your communication skills, petehoff.


Posted by peter on Thursday January 27, 2011 at 18:34

Please don't confuse the above dyslexic idiot with me. Thank you.

Posted by Pete on January 27, 2011 19:10

Editor Comment:

Yes, that's why he's petehoff. Dyslexia is not his problem. It's far worse.


I think you owe an apology to the family of Eric as well. He was a friend of mine and the alarm you created with your sensationalised reports is unforgivable. I stopped reading this site a year ago because of all the errors. I came upon this story tonight only because a forum I read for Phuket news has many comments on it. The phuket newspaper and several other sites - even here in Sweden - got the story right consistently. You should have been able to do the same because you are right there in Phuket.

Posted by Anders Rostberg on January 27, 2011 20:22

Editor Comment:

I think you'll find that Phuketwan was first with the story on the evening the man's death was discovered. We didn't publish his name, at any stage. We didn't ''sensationalise'' anything. We simply made the mistake of reporting the case too fast, and at first it was thought to be a murder. (In fact, there is still no conclusive coronial report either way, and there never will be.) Scandasia, lifting our work as usual, carried our account word for word the following day. Other outlets were slower - and for once, being slow proved to be useful. We're not going to continue to lash ourselves because of your alleged problems with errors, Anders. It's odd, though, that other readers seldom have your problem, otherwise they'd be quick to tell us. Our readership continues to rise rapidly. We're fast and accurate 3499 times out of 3500.


This forum sounds very defensive of its errors. But the website makes many many mistakes because of its tendency to 'twist' or 'sex up' stories just to get some readers. If it were a newspaper or other type of reliable news source it wouldn't need to do that. Anyway, with the Web being what it is, the truth always comes out and the fiction spinners get caught.

Posted by Brian Norris on January 27, 2011 21:06

Editor Comment:

We don't 'sex up' anything. Most newspapers are far less reliable than we are. This includes Thai newspapers, most of the British press and large sections of the Australian press. Spare us your media wisdom please, Brian. We know: everyone's an expert.


I can't believe the never wrong ed is wrong

Posted by Anonymous on January 27, 2011 21:16

Editor Comment:

The only people who are never wrong are those who are never named, Anonymous


@Brian Norris,

your comments "the truth always comes out and the fiction spinners get caught"? If you think that the truth has come out then you must be smokin some really good stuff! We are a long ways from the truth here. The guy fell on a bottle and bled to death? Give me a break.. maybe if the injuries were to his wrist, neck, leg or anywhere there is a major artery then this story would be more believable? I can imagine that it would require very deep wounds to the back in order to lose enough blood to die from the injuries, but then again .. I am only an armchair forensics expert!

I will remind everyone once again that the original report by Phuketwan contained at least 4 references to police statements such as "police said", "officers said", "police believe". So should we believe that this was fabricated by Phuketwan, or perhaps an officer spoke before he should have? It makes you wonder..

Posted by jesse on January 27, 2011 21:33


Good to see Phuketwan follows the journalists' code of ethics, even if most newspapers and media outlets don't. The fact you have and then copped a pasting here by the 'arm chair' experts shows me how little people know about journalism.

I might not always agree with you ed, I actually disagree with most stuff you post in the comments section, but in this case you are 100 percent right and I am glad Phuket is finally getting a media outlet it can trust.

Posted by Bronson on January 28, 2011 10:50


The claim that you are more accurate or ethical than most other journalism sources is the funniest thing I've read all day...

It is widely acknowledged that you put a" tabloid trash" spin on every story. That is an editorial choice, and likely there is a readership for it, but don't try to dress it up as something it's not. You only make yourself look silly.

Posted by matt on February 9, 2011 10:10

Editor Comment:

We didn't make that claim, Matt, but we reckon we stand up well against every other outlet in English in Thailand when it comes to ethics. Other outlets bury their mistakes. We correct ours as soon as possible.

Because the others don't 'fess up, you probably will never know how wrong they are. We make no apologies for our style of coverage.

When someone claims some point is ''widely acknowledged,'' it's usually no such thing. You're free to stick with news sources of your own choosing.

We've picked up enough international awards for our journalism over the past two years to be able to say that your view is not shared by good judges.

Tuesday October 26, 2021
Horizon Karon Beach Resort & Spa


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