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The Phuketwan photo that may have marked a change in thinking

Phuket Crime: Twenty Expat Victims Named

Thursday, May 27, 2010
THIS LIST of expats who have been victims of alleged crime on Phuket was supplied by police this week. The name at the start of the list may jog many memories.

Ivan Bob Anwar was the Canadian tourist involved in a case in which a tuk-tuk driver was accused of assault, with allegations made later that Mr Anwar also assaulted the tuk-tuk driver.

The incident inspired the Phuketwan headline 'Will This Photo Give Phuket Real Public Transport? The answer, it now appears, is that the photograph may well have started something.

Much more considered discussion has taken place since January about Phuket's need for a public transport system that is reasonably priced and efficient, and free from angry confrontations.

Much more concern has been displayed about the security and safety of expats on Phuket, especially those who happen to be caught up in incidents where police become involved.

This week, at a meeting between the island's local authorities, police and honorary consuls and embassy representatives, it became plain that progress is being made.

Ivan Bob Anwar may have been charged 150 baht for a one-minute ride, and been punched at journey's end, but it just might have started something.

What follows is the official police list of expats who have been alleged victims of crime between January and May. There are only 20 names on the list, which seems to point to Phuket being an extraordinarily safe place for tourists.

It's also worth bearing in mind that a proportion of the crimes perpetrated on expats are committed by other expats.

Ivan Bob Anwar Canada January 5 assaulted by a tuk-tuk driver at Kalim
Frazer James Smith Britain January 13 assaulted at Patong
Bernard Stephane France January 25 assaulted opposite Hard Rock Cafe, Patong
Blake Zacchary Christian Australia January 26 assaulted outside Jungceylon, Patong
Aman Bakhieui Tunisia January 27 assaulted at Soi Bangla, Patong
Wolf Dieter Eugen Kbelheim German January 27 killed at Rawai outside 7-Eleven store
James Edward Kerslake Britain February 4 victim of theft in Patong
Alireza Zandbod Iran February 14 victim of theft in Patong
Viatcheslav Kirichenko Russian March 7 assaulted at Patong
RTolf Max Blatti Switzerland January 13 assaulted at Bang Tao
(Mrs) Ursula Blatti Zumstein Switzerland January 13 assault at Bang Tao
Rota Ferdinamdo Italy February 15 victim of theft in Phuket City
Eric Ghaffour France March 17 victim of theft in Patong
Michael Hahn Germany March 17 victim of fraud in Patong
Jozsa Gyorgy Zoltan Hungary March 29 victim of theft in Patong
Amund Holand Norway April 6 victim of robbery during tsunami alert at Patong
Barend Ben David Sanders Netherlands April 8 assaulted at Patong
(Ms) Jarlow Anniele Cristina Sweden April 11 victim of assault at Karon
Zeimet Oliver Luzembourg April 14 victim of assault at Kathu (Patong)
Anthony George Lekja Australia April 25 victim of assault at Patong
Will This Photo Give Phuket Real Public Transport?
Defining Moment The fare was 150 baht for a one minute trip. The tourist objected. The tuk tuk driver would not take 100 baht. He lashed out. But the outcome may be positive: the start of Phuket reform.
Will This Photo Give Phuket Real Public Transport?

Phuket Arrests: What the Drunken Expats Do Wrong
Latest Being drunk in charge of a vehicle is the main reason that leads to the vast majority of arrests of expats on Phuket, police figures reveal. It's the first time the list has been made public.
Phuket Arrests: What the Drunken Expats Do Wrong

Phuket Police List Deaths of 33 Expats
Latest For the first time, police have released the names of 33 expats who have died on Phuket so far this year.
Phuket Police List Deaths of 33 Expats

Phuket Innovates as Island's Future Debated
Latest A second meeting between honorary consuls and Thai authorities leaves Phuket with a cohesive approach to creating an island destination with greater appeal for tourists.
Phuket Innovates as Island's Future Debated

Phuket Takes on Aussie Doctors in Surgery Wars
Latest Phuket has a suitable cut of the plastic surgery market and is aiming to grow its operating theatre fan base. But more expensive Aussie surgeons seek to hold the same patients.
Phuket Takes on Aussie Doctors in Surgery Wars

Comments

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Why does it not say WHO they were assaulted by except the first victim who was assaulted by a Tuk Tuk driver ??? It would be interesting whether the theft was theft from rooms or whether it was a "mugging" ???

Editor: We were able to expand on the first case because we reported on it. A more complete account may come eventually.

Posted by Anonymous on May 27, 2010 10:36

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What a joke of a list. It is only short because those are the ones where the police actually got involved officially. the true list must be 2 or 3 times that length or more.

I know two people robbed of money this year. First one was for about 10,000 baht from his room but he didn't report it as it was under embarrassing circumstances and didn't want the hassle of involving the police so he just accepted his stupidity for not having the money secure somewhere. The other was robbed of just 1000 baht and didn't report it because of the miniscule amount and has just put it down to experience.

Editor: It's difficult for police to list cases that they have yet to be told about. Why do unreported crimes make it a joke of a list?

Posted by Rex on May 27, 2010 12:23

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I have filed a complaint with the police in Patong for an assault charge of which I have a copy. My name is not listed, why?

It gives the impression that the list is just a handful of more prolific instances. Correct me if wrong...

Editor: The list is supposed to cover all cases involving expats on Phuket between January and the end of April. If your case is a standard criminal case in that period, rather than a civil case, it should be there.

Posted by Patong on May 27, 2010 20:20

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This article is so ridiculous. I was out in Patong last night, and I saw two vicious beatings in a matter of three hours - both incidents involved farangs that were clearly drunk and annoying, but were given a beating so, so severe by local security.

One incident took place after the Boy George DJ set at the Seduction nightclub. Some fifteen security guys beat the living s*** out of two blokes that were obnoxious - but it didn't stop there - they kicked the guys in the head so many times I had to go up and talk to the police that were just standing there watching - "why don't you put a stop to this, they are getting killed," I said.

The police got angry and told ME to go away (I was sober). The other incident involved a drunk bloke who also was rude and picking a fight - another ten, fifteen Thai guys jumped him and knifed him in the face, leg and abdomen. Police came, and did absolutely nothing. This occurred at the new bar area at the Thai boxing arena.

Thailand. Phuket. Patong. You will have to change, otherwise tourists will stop coming. It's gotten so much worse during the past 10 years that I've been living on the island.

Posted by Mike Eslow on May 28, 2010 03:54

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Why does the Puket Wan call of these crimes against "expats". I believe that expat means that someone is expatrioted, or permanently living in a different country from which they were born. In most cases I believe that these were crimes against tourist, not expats.

You had a previous article published that listed crimes committed by expats. Again I believe that most of these were committed by tourists. Even in this article you said that the man who was assaulted by a tuk tuk driver was a tourist. He should not be labelled as an expat.

As a member of the expat community here, I feel that you are giving us a soiled image. This in turn could make it harder for us living here....visas, etc. If I am wrong in my definition of expat, I stand corrected.

Editor: Wish there was a quick answer to this one. It's one area where the English language often fails to deliver. The police and local authorities only really distinguish between people who have Thai ID and the rest, that is, people who need to rely on passports or similar documents for identification. It's the same with embassies: they don't initially distinguish between a tourist who needs help and an expat resident who needs help. There is no way Phuketwan can determine from the above list whether the people involved in these incidents are tourists, or expat residents, most of whom are temporary, whether short-stay or long-stay. Indeed, some people also stay on tourist visas for long periods of time: 14 years, we heard in one case. The two words used most in official documents dealing with non-Thais are ''foreigners'' and ''aliens.'' Both those words tend to create the wrong impression about people who have a right to be here. If it's plain that the case involves a tourist, we use the word ''tourist.'' We use the words ''expats'' or ''visitors'' in cases where it's not possible to distinguish whether the people involved are expat residents, either short-term or long-term, or tourists. We try to be specific where we can (Australian tourist, Japanese expat resident, etc). We also use the Thai term ''farang'' when it is relevant, usually in a direct quote from police or local authorities. Most expats in Thailand, though, are not immigrants to Thailand and will never seek or be granted citizenship, at which point they would cease being ''visitors'' or ''expats''. Residents who carry non-Thai passports have to renew their visas . . . just as tourists do. So we try to be specific where we can, but in cases where it's not possible to be specific, we prefer to use ''expats'' or ''visitors.'' Expats, whether (temporary or long-term) residents, also remain ''visitors.'' Our guess is that you're right, that most of these incidents involve ''tourists,'' but at least one expat resident was involved during this period in a violent altercation that led to his death, so we don't go along with the notion that expat residents are necessarily better behaved than tourists. The more people are treated as individuals rather than grouped under various headings, the less ludicrous categories and ''us'' versus ''them'' mentalities we create. In other words, the Phuketwan view is that you should protect your own image. You are not able to control anyone else's image, nor should you seek to do so.

Posted by BBJ on May 28, 2010 07:40

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It would be even more interesting to see if any of the accused were actually prosecuted and what if any sentence they have received. I won't hold my breath. Going back to 'Jetskigate' I was talking to JJ on Wed and he just laughed when I asked him about the incident with the marines shown on TV.

Editor: It would be, yes. However, once cases are recorded in the police station ''duty book'' they are usually pursued. We ask regularly about the case involving JJ and when we last inquired, the public prosecutor had yet to decide on whether there was sufficient evidence. As you probably recall, there was debate about whether the incident was genuine or whether it was playacting for a reality television show. Proving it one was or the other was always going to be difficult. Not much point in wasting time and energy on a court case unless the evidence is conclusive.

Posted by Mister Ree on May 28, 2010 21:09

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I would guess that this very small list is only the cases that the police investigate.

There are numerous petty crimes and several assaults. Many smaller thefts are reported to the police for insurance claim purposes but the police never have any intention of investigating these.

There must surely be three or four incidents a day reported to the police for them to issue their 20 baht reports and several more unreported. Do the maths. It's a bit more than twenty.

Something's been lost in translation, methinks.

Editor: These lists are said to be complete lists. The honorary consuls and the embassies want police to inform them about every case in which an expat is arrested. Yes, many more incident reports would be filed (missing items etc). Remember, though, that police also use mediation, which often results in an amicable settlement of minor cases in which the names go unrecorded because no charge results. Based on the lists, Phuket crimes involving expats are not at exceptional levels. You also don't see expat names from China, Japan, Korea or Taiwan on the list.

Posted by Steve on May 28, 2010 21:10


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