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Colonel Arayapan Pukbuakao: Hollywood ''massacre'' never happened

Patong's Hollywood Massacre 'Never Happened'

Monday, April 12, 2010
THE HOLLYWOOD ''massacre'' never happened, says Patong police chief Colonel Arayapan Pukbuakao. There were no bodies, and no secret disposal of the evidence. There was no gang war.

According to the rumor mill in Patong, two expats were killed in a wild brawl at the Patong nightclub. The gossip has been circulating for months, without a genuine witness or a supposed mobile telephone video of the incident being produced.

Colonel Arayapan said that on the night, there was a fight. But nobody died.

''How would police hide the bodies?'' he said. ''Why would police hide the bodies?''

Indeed, you'd think that if two men died - and according to the latest rumors they were a Briton and a Frenchman - you'd think that relatives somewhere might ask a question a two.

But no, there has been no such reaction. Certainly, there was a brawl that put one man in hospital. But two killings?

Definitely not, the colonel says.

The Hollywood Massacre is just a prime example of the Phuket myth, the kind of embellishment that tends to be added with time to some of the late-night experiences of expats in Patong.

This is not to say that all the late-night goings-on are inevitably myths: we know of some, especially involving tuk-tuks, that are clearly credible.

For the colonel, learning first-hand about Patong has been part of his first few weeks in the job.

He plans to talk to all owners of bars and restaurants in Patong who have their own security cameras, and he thinks that their cooperation will help to control crime.

The security cameras Patong currently has do not work. 'We need good-quality cameras to replace them,'' he said, ''and finding the budget will take a little time.''

Patong has 168 officers based at Kathu police station, including four female officers. This means that there are about 50 police, allowing for shifts and holidays and time off, on active duty at any time of the day or night.

Being a tourist destination, even Patong, with its reputation for crime, seldom has serious murders. There was the standout case of the professional hit on the Canadian real estate developer last year, and the gang shootout at Jinatana Plaza that left one participant dead.

Perhaps Patong doesn't need myths: the actual cases are stunning enough.

In terms of prevention, Patong police were inclined to intervene if they hear there is a major argument happening, or a disagreement between parties that might become explosive, he said.

''There are certainly some bad expats who spend time in Patong,'' he said, noting the Tunisian who allegedly robbed a Norwegian during the recent tsunami alert.

A new police box has been established on Patong Hill, mostly to guard against early morning robberies as people head home from work.

The colonel started work on February 19, and is now keen to focus on traffic, drugs and security for tourists.

''If there was no drugs problem, there wouldn't be nearly as much crime,'' he said. Thirty drug dealers, selling yah ba, cocaine and yah ice, had been arrested between the date of his arrival and April 11.

''After Songkran, when there are not so many people around, we will look at re-doing Patong's one-way system.''
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Comments

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And apparently I didn't witness 20 tuk tuk drivers delivered a beat down to two tourists Friday night either. It's sad that that to must be recorded as "urban legend".

Posted by ScubaBuddha on April 12, 2010 23:09


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