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A Thai family mourns the death of a relative who was killed overseas

Phuket Death, Where is Thy Stats?

Monday, July 29, 2013
PHUKET: An alarming year-on-year increase of 31 percent in the deaths among British citizens in Thailand turns out to be a statistical abnormality.

An analysis by staff at the British Embassy in Bangkok makes the increase of deaths from 296 in 2011-12 to 389 in the year to April 1 much less of a concern.

The figure of 296 was actually a marked drop of 12 percent on the 2010-11 tally of 337, so the latest total of 389 becomes less of an increase when viewed in the context of the rollercoaster dip in 2010-11.

This is not to say deaths aren't on the increase.

''The trend is upward but the increase in the trend appears disproportionate because the previous reporting period was a year of significant decrease,'' says a embassy staffer who has been looking at the figures.

Whether it's perceived as good news probably depends on your age and health but according to the embassy natural death ''has increased from 115 to 231 cases.

''So this alone accounts for a substantial proportion of the increase in overall case numbers. As previously indicated, there are approximately 50,000 British nationals resident in Thailand.

''A considerable proportion of these are retired and often elderly individuals who will by the very nature of their age and quite often as a result of lifestyle, find themselves at greater risk of suffering an illness which will lead to their death.

''Each passing year is likely to see more and more of those residents moving in to this category and consequently, the number of natural deaths which accounts for the greater share of all deaths of British nationals in Thailand, is in all likelihood going to increase in coming years.''

While straddling a bike in Thailand isn't considered wise for motorcycle riders who don't have experience, the news on the road toll is not as bad as it might have been.

A check on road toll fatalities over the past four years ''reveals that there is no perceptible increase in the reporting period when matched against previous years.

''On average we have 21 road fatalities annually and as of June this year had reached a figure of 12, so the figure is likely to be broadly similar by the end of this year when compared to previous years.''

Samui accounts for 11 fatalities in the past four years, Chiang Mai 10, Phuket and Pattaya 9 respectively.

''For the purpose of reporting, unfortunately our system does not allow us to differentiate between residents and tourists, which has arisen as a question previously,'' says the embassy analyst.

''One factor that does come across in interrogating our statistics is that a substantial proportion of those killed in motorcycle related accidents suffered major head trauma, undoubtedly related to an absence of wearing a crash helmet.''

The British Embassy is among the most efficient embassies in terms of compiling statistics and revealing the results.

Officials on Phuket are less obliging. The release of updated monthly figures on Phuket's road toll and drownings ceased in April 2012.

Figures for all of 2012 and for the first six months of 2013 have not been released.

As a result it's impossible to tell whether authorities on Phuket are winning or losing the fight to save more lives on the roads and in the water.


Comments have been disabled for this article.


If Thailand was developing at it's meant to be a developing country these figures should be going down most if not every year.

Posted by Fiesty Farang on July 29, 2013 21:38

Editor Comment:

If Thailand could find a way to reduce natural deaths, it would certainly be an even more popular destination.


Bangkok Post editorial on the road toll today:

''Statistics can be misleading, but this one is not. No matter which way you shuffle the numbers, Thailand is the record-setter. India, with 18 times the Thai population, has just nine times the road fatalities....''

As the road death toll statistics of Phuket are no longer published since early 2012 the situation is even worse.
As the Bangkok Post editorial states the first badly needed action can be summed up in three words: education, licensing and enforcement.

Posted by Bert van Muylwijk on July 30, 2013 06:50


here is thai stats. 26,000 dead 2012 100,000 injured 2012. a new world record goes to thailand

Posted by gt on July 30, 2013 08:46


What do you expect in a country where the drivers believe more in honking horns than using breaks.

Posted by Charles on July 30, 2013 09:47

Editor Comment:

I wouldn't call that a comment adding any kind of value, Charles. Most of the horns are sounded by motorcycle riders as a safety precaution.

Monday July 15, 2024
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