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Tourists outside the Rock City nightclub in Patong

Wild Phuket Brawl: Aussies Seriously Hurt

Monday, January 23, 2012
UPDATE

Patong police have arrested one person - believed to be a member of a nightclub's security staff - in connection with the brawl early on Monday.

A reader has sent the following video link: http://youtu.be/fRx8YeWdbgU

Original Report

PHUKET: Three Australian tourists have been injured in a wild Phuket brawl early today that also involved security staff at a popular Patong nightspot.

Superintendent Colonel Arayapan Pukbuakao of Kathu Police Station, which oversees Patong, the nightlife capital on Phuket's west coast, confirmed that the brawl had taken place.

The colonel was in a meeting late today at Phuket Police Headquarters in Phuket City with Phuket Police Commander Major General Chonsit Wadhnawarangkun.

The brawl took place outside Rock City, the most prominent of several nightspots in Rat-U-Tit 200 Pi Road, at the top of the t-intersection with Soi Bangla, Patong's famous walking street.

Phuketwan has yet to confirm initial reports that two of the Australians were seriously injured, and that one man, said to have been struck in the face with a bar stool, may require plastic surgery. A second man is reported to have required many stitches to wounds.

It is not known whether security camera footage captured the brawl.

The Australians, all large men, were reported to have been celebrating a birthday. They had been drinking.

As many as 15 locals are reported to have been involved in the brawl, Phuketwan has been told.

While the reasons for the brawl remain unclear, the outcome is likely to reflect poorly on Patong and its tourism reputation.

Honorary consuls have been at pains in past incidents to make the point that tourists do sometimes start trouble, but in Patong, the retribution from locals is often severe.

Major General Chonsit's predecessor, Major General Pekad Tantipong, has previously urged tuk-tuk drivers and bar staff to call in police rather than carry out their own rough justice.

In February last year, two Australians in a brawl with Patong locals were knifed and one was stabbed close to the heart in an incident described as attempted murder.

The wounded Australians left Phuket rather than face a counter-suit by their attackers that would have obliged them to stay on Phuket.

A German expat resident of Phuket, Kurt Trotnow, 53, was bashed into a coma in August when a dispute with a Patong tuk-tuk driver over an extra 100 baht for a fare quickly escalated into a ''dog pack attack.'' Mr Trotnow was lucky to survive.

In October, two Italian tourists earned the ire of locals in Soi Seadragon - a lane of bars that runs off Soi Bangla. One of the tourists was put in hospital after being hit with a golf club.

Police say the number of incidents involving drunken tourists in Patong has increased alarmingly.

Two weeks ago, Major General Chonsit called on venue owners to control their staff, and to make sure there were no drugs or weapons on their premises.

His call followed one of the nastiest of incidents - this time not in Patong but in an after-hours pub in Phuket City, on the other side of the island.

Between six and eight staff members at the pub participated in an axe attack on Phuket resort owner-manager Vorasit ''Wan'' Issara, who managed to make sure his friend, Hollywood actor Jeremy Renner, was ushered to safety as blows rained down on him.

Even though Mr Renner was unharmed, the attack made international headlines. In the wake of their son's fortunate survival from the axe wounds, his parents Srivara and Songkran later called for an end to the ''social environment that allows this kind of thing to happen on Phuket.''

Khun Wan told Phuketwan that one of the things he found shocking was that he gained the impression his attackers thought he was Korean.

Comments

Comments have been disabled for this article.

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Let me guess . . . (moderated)

Posted by christian on January 23, 2012 19:34

Editor Comment:

Sorry, guesswork is what doesn't work here. Best to wait, christian, until the facts become plain. Try to restrain yourself, the way you would expect others to restrain themselves.

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What happened to the Police telling the nightclub owners etc in Patong that they would have to close. Didn't you report this just a week or so ago?
I gather it was more flannel from the authorities, saying they are going to do something but fail, as usual.

Posted by Tbs on January 23, 2012 20:10

Editor Comment:

The brawl happened at 1.30am. Night venues don't have to shut until 2am.

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" The Australians, all large men, were reported to have been celebrating a birthday. They had been drinking."

This I do not believe, we are like camels we can go 7 days without a drink.

" While the reasons for the brawl remain unclear, the outcome is likely to reflect poorly on Patong and its tourism reputation. "

This I do.

This world breaking news headline rates along with the poor unfortunate Aussie backpacker busted at the border with 1 gram of grass.

My question is why are Aussies seen to be the main target here of all wrongdoer reports ?

Posted by innocent bystander on January 23, 2012 20:16

Editor Comment:

Let's see now . . . an Aussie is caught with one gram of marijuana . . . three others are involved in a brawl . . . and you insist Aussies are ''seen to be the main target here of all wrongdoer reports?''

Where are you from, innocent bystander, the outer reaches of planet Paranoia?

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Let me guess (moderated)

Posted by Wiliam Dale on January 23, 2012 20:37

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Phuket is the visiting card ( or the name card or the business card ) of Thailand: a Third World Country!

Posted by Mario on January 23, 2012 20:43

Editor Comment:

Developing countries are not the same as developed countries, Mario. And Phuket is much safer than most places, except on a jet-ski. or after midnight, perhaps.

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i living 6 years in patong. the security staff in all this bars, clubs have a very thin skin if a foreigner want to make the smallest trouble.

Posted by mike on January 23, 2012 21:07

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hmmm: "Police say the number of incidents involving drunken tourists in Patong has increased alarmingly." But I guess the incidents involving drunken and drugged up bar staff, taxi drivers, tuk tuk drivers, has remained non existent or stationary.

Posted by fw on January 23, 2012 23:45

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Oh dear oh dear yet another nail in the coffin of the patong Auzzie tourist relationship, still 15-3 odds aren't that bad was it not more when the two young Auzzie lads got stabbed last year, you remember they were told if they were to seek justice they would have a counter claim placed against them that would have seen them stuck on this lovely island till the wheels of the justice eventually got round to their case you must admit that was a classic ploy to make it all go away . I wonder if this tactic will be used in this case with new man at the helm who knows these three might be independently wealthy and can afford to spend months here waiting for a trial.I'd like to bet that the CCTV footage will be of such poor quality so as to be not pertinent to the case or that the camera was just unfortunately off for repairs or maybe pointing at the stars at the time just like when the German tourist was beaten to a pulp on the same road.

Posted by Scunner on January 23, 2012 23:51

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I come since 1990 to Patong, stayed here some years all together, if I count all the month I stayed.
Never had a big problem or a fight, but, I drink little and I behave in a normal way.
Can back off when necessary - only once in such a situation and on the end that Falang "Enemy" said 'SORRY" to me some days later when he was sober!

Posted by Alfred on January 24, 2012 01:10

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Good thing drunken brawls never happen at night spots in first world countries.

Posted by Just SomeGuy on January 24, 2012 01:53

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Just another guy, yes drunken brawls happen everywhere in the world but they are normally sorted out by the police not some gang of locals. This "take the matter in our own hands" attitude has to stop. Every day we read about the increase in tourism, where is the increase in police officers?

Apart from the odd raid you can count on one hand the number of police in an area such as Bangla Rd. A few times over the years in Patong i have had the unfortunate pleasure of seeing this type of brawl I have never seen the police arrive till after the fighting has finished and the ambulance has turned up and the local thugs have scurried back into their hole

Posted by Neil A on January 24, 2012 05:46

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As my post was Moderated i asked the question who will the blame be attached too i suspect the Aussies yet the locals can pile in cause and inflict serious injuries and not 1 of them will be arrested as said many times locals can do anything as there immune to arrest.

Posted by Wiliam Dale on January 24, 2012 10:11

Editor Comment:

Your comment is a total fabrication, William. Police would have arrested the attackers in previous cases if they'd had known their identity. There is no immunity. If you don't know the truth, why make stuff up? Please read the Update above.

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Dear Editor i heard that the 2pm curfew lasted only 1 night can you confirm this. A brawl, bar and alcohol nothing changes not matter what place in the world you live. Cheers

Posted by chaseone on January 24, 2012 10:33

Editor Comment:

I am usually awake at 2pm and have yet to notice any curfew. At 2am . . . you may have to do your own research.

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http://youtu.be/fRx8YeWdbgU aftermath footage. I have HD. check the slow mo's... chairs, weapons...

Posted by VideoGuy on January 24, 2012 11:43

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it is well known that the farang lynching is the favorite sport of some tuk-tuk gang and "security" staff of well known discos.
These people are dangerous and acting worse than wild animals, always by horde of 10 to 15 people.
The problem is very often the incidents could be solved tactfully and with a minimum of diplomacy like in many other places all over the world.
Very often also they provoke the incidents by their behavior and their aggressive attitude. it is obvious that people a bit drunk are, unfortunately, prone to answer to people who speak bad to them, that's enough to start the lynching.
In the discotheques the staff should be trained and qualified to fix issues without violence as it is in all serious night spots all over the world.

Posted by Anonymous on January 24, 2012 11:58

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As a hotel manager I can confirm that over the past years we had more alcohol related problems from our guests than previously. Frequently complete drunk customers returning to the resort continuing to party, no considerations for other guests, vulgar and noisy until sober. So far the best remedy has been to ask them to check out of the resort. Regretfully there is little or no training of bar members to stop serving alcohol do drunk customers. I believe we will see much more of this in the future.

Posted by wm on January 24, 2012 13:26

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Editor,

Please check link. (doesn't work)
Thanks

Posted by PhuketExpat on January 24, 2012 13:46

Editor Comment:

Try cutting and pasting it.

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I'm from Australia I gotta say the way my fellow citizens behave in thailand or other countries for that matter (well most of them) is an absolute disgrace!! No wonder we have a bad reputation with most other countries. Being represented by a bunch of redneck bogans...If you think this kind behavior doesn't happen in Australia spend night out in one of the major cities in OZ, punch ups, stabbings it's like a war zone... Aussies+ alcohol ???? well you get the picture...

Posted by ??????? on January 24, 2012 14:45

Editor Comment:

Better to not judge the cause of specific incidents on the basis of your general impressions, ???????? (hope I got that right). There are also millions of sober Aussies.

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wm should check the link, from Videoguy, and read the eyewitness comments..and then ask wm, who may have been at fault...15/3, in any country, cowardly thugs.

Posted by Laurie Howells on January 24, 2012 15:30

Editor Comment:

wm is simply making the point that Patong police have also made - that there are more problems these days caused by visitors drinking too much that there once were. As a hotelier, he (or she) probably knows what's what. There is nothing in the video link to prove or disprove what's alleged in this particular incident. Your imagination is running amok, Laurie. Settle down.

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Agree with the Ed regarding Mario's comment.

While I understand the Ed regarding ???????'s point, I also totally understand ???????... I live in Sydney and in the past 2 months I have been out 3 times for work functions in the city and we have had people try to start problems with us 2 of the 3 times we have been out.. (These are work functions - very few drinks are had)...

I hate to say it, but Sydney (and I worry a lot of Australia) feels above the law because (in my opinion) our laws are weak and our judges too soft.

Posted by Joel M on January 24, 2012 17:11

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I'm sorry Anonymous but the idea of Farang lynching seems to defeat the purpose of making money in a bar. As soon as it happens the bar shuts down, the cops come and there are many hours of down time where no money is made. Am I missing something?

Posted by Pete on January 24, 2012 18:22

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I was thinking about a trip to Thailand. Maybe I should go to Bali or Goa.

Posted by Orange on January 24, 2012 18:48

Editor Comment:

You'll find recent reports from both those destinations also highlight brawls and crime. There are problems everywhere.

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My only comment on this is just how rare this type of incident seems to be in Phuket.
I know there are some who would like to make it seem that Patong in particular is out of control but believe me come here to Darwin and walk down Mitchell Street on a friday and saturday night at about three in the morning.
Drunks everywhere, Bogans wanting to fight at the drop of a hat.
To me Phuket has seemed safe on all my visits.
Of course the first thing I learnt before my first visit was never get into a fight with a Thai and respect a countries culture and laws.

Posted by Arthur on January 24, 2012 20:27

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Next Holidays...... Hua Hin!

Posted by Dominik on January 24, 2012 20:31

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After living here for ???????????? years I am now planning to move away. Phuket is following in the footsteps of Pattaya when All we see in the local press are shootings and batterings dished out by security usually involving a weapon of some sorts. How many security actually have to answer for the beatings they dish out.
The only reason the security in the Phuket town incident were arrested was due to the fact that a celebrity and a prominent local Thai national were involved......the average tourist getting justice...fat chance!

Posted by Gary . S on January 25, 2012 01:28

Editor Comment:

Other readers will wonder at the limits of your viewpoint and the depth of your cynicism, Gary S,

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Orange !!!
Dont worry !!!
if you just act a grown up, everything will be ok !!

Posted by jorgen48 on January 25, 2012 02:42

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Couldn't agree more with the comments of Joel M. I am Australian and have been visiting Phuket for the past 12 years. I have seen little of the trouble I've been reading here lately but I am not surprised. I am continually embarrassed by the behavior of some of my fellow countrymen and women when abroad. The powder puff justice system in Australia will only continue to encourage the bogan element.

Posted by JWK on January 25, 2012 08:06

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This establishment has a reputation for this type of thuggish behavior. Last year while I was living in Phuket a fellow expat found himself in a similar situation where he took his brother & sister in law to 'Rock City' where staff grabbed the female patron by the hair (pulling her to the ground) while other staff proceeded to hurl bar stools at the 2 males. Its amazing that there were no serious injuries in that incident, apart from bruises and gashes! It was all over the female removing a feather from an Indian Headdress that a Thai local was wearing!

Posted by The Quan on January 25, 2012 12:39

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I have witnessed several fighting scenes in Patong. . My complete disgust is mainly at the suddenly appearance of at least 6 or more locals who had nothing to do with the original incident. All arriving like men possessed to give the Farang a completely one sided unfair beating.

Posted by Sam on January 25, 2012 12:42

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To JWK
I'm Australian and I had been visiting Phuket for 18 Years as a tourist, then lived and worked there for 4 years. You really do see Thailand with rose colored glasses as a tourist. But believe me, there are plenty of incidents that I witnessed once living there where Thai males working in the entertainment industry (specifically in Patong) would unleash beatings upon tourists at the slightest whim or opportunity. They are a law unto themselves and they do not comprehend the consequences of their own actions/aggression. A Thai in a fight aims to not only hurt you, but put you in hospital at the least! These people are not Phuketians, but unsavories from other parts of Thailand

Posted by The Quan on January 25, 2012 14:11

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To ???????
I'm also from Australia and I have also seen quite a few young drunken shirtless yobo Australians frequenting Phuket the last few years, but I wouldn't say its the majority of Australians vising Phuket, Patong..Yes...Phuket...No! They're harmless enough but you can blame the TAT for the new quality of tourists they are currently attracting to Phuket...cheap charlies! People with money have found destinations where they care for and protect their tourists and tourism industry!

Posted by The Quan on January 25, 2012 14:25

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To Gary S
I couldn't agree more...Phuket's government officials are definitely reaping what they have sown since the Tsunami while the politicians in Bangkok have been sticking they're heads in the sand for years! The lack of law enforcement, corruption, respect for the environment and tourism Industry is finally biting them back on the ass! The ship is sinking and as always they are being reactive instead of being pro-active...Thai culture does not plan for tomorrow...sad but true.

Posted by The Quan on January 25, 2012 15:03

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The Quan assumes that the Aussie victims of the Rock City farang lynching were "cheap Charlie, red-neck bogans". I hear that quite the opposite is true. Phuket citizens need to stand up against this mindless violence or all of the tourists - including the "bogans" - will be holidaying elsewhere.

Posted by Adam on January 25, 2012 18:42

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Better to not judge the cause of specific incidents on the basis of your general impressions, ???????? (hope I got that right). There are also millions of sober Aussies.

Editor,
Maybe you need reading glasses!! To quote myself " Aussie's + Alcohol"
Did i say anything about sober Aussie's??

Posted by ??????? on January 25, 2012 19:31

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Hey people come to Darwin, population 128,000 and we lock up half a dozen aggravated assaults every night.
These stories are not reflective of Phuket or Thailand. They are instead reflective of the stupidity of people.

Posted by arthur on January 25, 2012 20:02

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Not what I assumed or stated at all Adam...nowhere did I state the Aussie victims of this incident were cheap charlies. I was alluding to the reality of what Patong is becoming and conveying the message of how intolerant, aggressive and opportunistic the Thai males that are working in the night entertainment Industry have become. Maybe read all my comments so you can gain a better informed opinion of what I wrote! I can only assume the Editor didn't print my last comment because he didn't agree with my personal opinion based on my experience.

Posted by The Quan on January 26, 2012 06:11

Editor Comment:

Agreeing with my opinion is not a requirement, and your experience is definitely yours alone, The Quan. Sending three or four comments in quick succession usually means one will be overlooked until later.

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Its no great surprise you moderated my last post Editor when i asked you for some answers.

Posted by Wiliam Dale on January 26, 2012 09:53

Editor Comment:

Your questions usually involve libelling someone, Wiliam - which means you're perfectly happy to have us take all the risks on your behalf. Given your record for inaccuracy, do you think we are totally mad? By the way, where is the cheque for your 20-year Phuketwan subscription?

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Makes you wonder what the whole point of the police box directly across the street and the 2 CCTV cameras are. Surprised a place like Rock city hasn't got its own cameras as well but what the eye doesn't see, doesn't happen I guess.

Posted by Mister Ree on January 26, 2012 23:18

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does not matter where they come from if there is trouble the police need to sort it out, not the local groups tuk-tuk drivers or whomever is around.

Posted by michael on January 28, 2012 06:39

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Here's a suggestion, legalise marijuana and see these alcohol fueled brutalities lessen by half or more, while making room in prisons for real criminals.

Posted by NORML on January 28, 2012 08:23

Editor Comment:

Why change your tag to post a comment about legalising marijuana? Whichever name you use, it's unlikely to happen in Thailand.

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It was members of my family who were attacked at Rock City on 23 January. They had been there for about half an hour (father (aged 50), four sons and two daughters, dancing and enjoying the band. Just before 2am (not 1.30) three members of my family were attacked by a group of around 15 Thai men inside the bar. There was no apparent reason for the attack. The 50 year old man was knocked out from behind and then beaten with chairs and glasses to the back of his head. He has over 70 stitches. The other two boys were also seriously injured having being attacked in the same way. One needed plastic surgery when he returned home to Australia and will suffer permanent damage to his face. All are lucky to be alive.

I understand that there would often be incidents in busy nighlife areas like Patong fuelled by drunken idiots starting fights. My family, however, were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time and fell victim to a 'farang lynching'.

My family travel to Asia for holidays at least once a year. We have visited Thailand many times and Phuket twice. We have never previously felt unsafe in Phuket, had planned to return and had discussed investing in local property.

We went home yesterday feeling sad that it is unlikely we will be able to return to a place we loved so much.

The good citizens of Phuket must act to stop this kind of thing happening to innocent people.

Posted by Adam on January 28, 2012 13:10

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Adam, I appreciate that the injuries are serious and that we can't have such brutality, but incidents like this just don't occur spontaneously. So far, the Phuketwan reports "the reasons for the brawl remain unclear". which I think is a fair statement if one doesn't have all the facts. What is your version of the events? Why was there a brawl? Please do not take this as pointing a finger at your family, but it would help if there was an explanation, even if it is from your perspective. Thanks.

Posted by Ryan on January 29, 2012 11:45

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I think it is unfortunate to see what appears to be an increase in these sorts of incidents in Thailand.

I have lived and been travelling to Thailand for the past 30 years, and have spent a lot of my life living in various other countries, including Australia. What is on the increase in Thailand is also on the increase in developed countries.

My own experiences in Thailand suggest to me that most attacks are provoked in some way or another. Places like Patong and Pattaya seem to attract the rogues of Thai society, addicted to drugs and alcohol, many are jaded by the tourism industry and have developed a dislike for tourists, for one reason or another. Unfortunately, I am sure most have dealt with enough rude tourists and "lost face" because of them that revenge is on their mind and so they are ready to unleash when the opportunity presents itself.

Unfortunately, it is getting to the point where it doesn't take much of a spark before these thugs see an opportunity for retribution.

Having said that, I still feel much more comfortable in night life areas in Thailand than in developed countries. I was in Oslo on holidays recently for a couple of nights and in that time, there were a couple of stabbings, discovery of a dead body, a couple of glassings etc. In my home town in Australia, I stopped going to the main nightlife areas years ago because I have almost been assaulted multiple times in unprovoked incidents.

People will argue that there is a lack of justice in Thailand when these incidents occur. However, I have seen many night club incidents in Australia where the bouncers have walked free. Also take note that there are many incidents in Thailand where the perpetrators (if identified) are arrested and jailed.

Posted by Phrakanong Pete on January 30, 2012 06:17

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Went to Patong 20 years ago and it was a rat-hole, went back two years ago and nothing has changed, with all the other great areas in Thailand to visit it amazes me that people choose Patong given all its issues

Posted by Damien on January 30, 2012 18:33

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I have a simple solution to the situation as I see it in Patpong.


i visited there once and that will be the only time for me.

no loss for the locals other than the baht I spend daily.

If the area continues on it present course I think it will rightfully suffer economically

Posted by bob j. on February 2, 2012 21:26

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After this story broke our company lost a booking of 45 people due here in Phuket for 10 days, that's 45 Phuket Fantasea seats, 45 people that will not go on a trip to Phi Phi, Go-Karting, Shooting, Elephant rides etc etc Not to mention restaurants for 45 people for 10 nights, shopping for clothes etc.

These VERY SHORT sighted thugs will be the first to moan "I haven't had a fare today, my wife hasn't sold a t-shirt this week, we haven't got any customers Bla Bla Bla.

Evil Brainless Cowards.

Posted by Terry on February 4, 2012 19:33

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This reminds me of an incident in Singapore where 3 New Zealanders bashed up a Singaporean taxi driver and a man who came to his aid, and then were allowed to jump bail by some incompetent immigration officer, and complained that Singapore was 'draconian' for wanting to punish them for their crime.
I'd like to have seen them try that in Phuket.

Posted by JN on March 21, 2012 21:57


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