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Ladyboys in Patong during a US warship visit in June: There is no suggestion that the katoeys in the photograph are party to the crimewave

US Warships Visit Brings Ladyboy Crime Invaders

Saturday, September 19, 2009
A SPATE of muggings by katoey ladboys in Patong has raised concern for the safety of US sailors who arrive on Phuket to take shore leave next week.

The nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan spearheads a friendly ''invasion'' of warships to boost Phuket's economy over five days.

But another less friendly invasion of ladyboys from all over Thailand has already begun, the local police chief warned today.

At 4am this morning, one of Phuket's leading American residents and business identities, Denny Bowman, was mugged by three katoeys as he sought shelter from a downpour under an awning in Patong's famous Soi Bangla walking street.

Mr Bowman told Phuketwan that when he went to report the crime at Patong's central Kathu Police Station this afternoon, he found himself queuing behind a British backpacker who had also been rolled by katoeys overnight.

Of the nightmarish incident, Mr Bowman said: ''It was all over in a flash. Within seconds I was on the ground and they had my wallet.''

Two of the katoeys ran one way down Soi Bangla towards the beach, and the third took off in the other direction.

Mr Bowman was carrying the Lion of the Year Award in a bag. The award is to be presented tonight at a large gathering of Lions in Patong. ''I was guarding it with my life,'' he said.

Ironically, Mr Bowman's mugging was revealed when Phuketwan called him to check the facts for a story promoting the economic resurgence of Phuket and the benefits of the arrival of the US sailors next week.

He took the call at the police station. Mr Bowman, also one of the founders of the island's well-known International Business Association of Phuket group, is in the process of organising with others a local branch of the navy league (navyleague.net) to help with future visits of warships to Phuket.

His experience with katoeys comes amid continuing uproar over the screening on the Internet of an incident involving a jet-ski operator allegedly ripping off a US marine. US warships were last in Phuket in June.

The off-cut footage from the British documentary reality television series 'Big Trouble in Tourist Thailand' was placed online following the screening in Britain of the premier episode of 'Trouble.'

The footage, posted on YouTube, proved that the same operator, Winai ''JJ'' Naiman, had been in a second rip-off confrontation with US marines within days of a similar incident with British marines, in which he wielded a gun.

Between 4000 and 6500 US sailors are expected to be on the island over five days from Tuesday. Patong, the island's most lively nighttime zone, is where many of them will gather.

The superintendent of Patong's Kathu police station, Police Colonel Grissak Songmoonnark, said today that his officers were arresting between five and 10 ladyboys each day for a variety of offences.

''Many of them have come from other areas because the Americans will be here next week,'' he said. ''They come whenever American, British or Australian warships are in port.''

He said that many of the ladyboys were ''very beautiful'' and capable of deceiving male visitors in many ways. Locals who worked in Soi Bangla bars were known to police, but outsiders posed greater problems.

''Sometimes they beat up the customers if they can't make a deal on prices,'' he said.

Visiting US sailors are usually advised to avoid riding the jet-skis in Patong and warned about the deceptive katoeys.

There was no reality television crew present when Mr Bowman was mugged this morning. But he is looking forward to tonight's gala Lions dinner of the year.

Last night he was at a fellowship meeting of the Lions Andaman Sea Club with members from Singapore, Japan and Malaysia before joining ''a couple of buddies'' for a few drinks in Soi Bangla.

He was alone, though, when he was mugged.

Mr Bowman remains positive about Phuket's economy and says all the indication at his PhuketDir.com Internet On-line Directory of Businesses for Phuket are positive.

''The signs are all looking good,'' he said. ''Traffic is up and bookings are increasing.

''When it comes to the people who are in danger of being mugged, though, I feel for those who are unaware of what might happen.

''But as a Patong resident, I remain very positive. All the curves are up.''

US officials have made the point that many of the US sailors will be engaging in training with the Royal Thai Navy while on Phuket. Others will reunite with their families, or do charity work. More will take adventure tours and go on dive trips to the coral reefs.

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Comments

Comments have been disabled for this article.

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Whatever was he doing, on Soi Bangla, at 4am?

Posted by Tim Hadfield on September 22, 2009 00:47

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Where are those multimillion baht cameras?

Posted by Johnny Totten on September 22, 2009 15:32

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and why would he be carrying the Lion of the Year award with him on Soi Bangla at 4am if he was protecting it with his life?

Posted by VFaye on September 22, 2009 15:49

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Two of the above posts suggest the victim was to blame. Doesn't matter what time it was or what he was carrying, the man was mugged. Or are you suggesting the Ladyboys who mugged him should be let off (probably will be anyway) because he was 'fair game'?

Posted by tamsin on September 23, 2009 01:07


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