PHUKET: Making tourists safe must become the mantra for Krabi, Phuket and Phang Nga as the destinations become truly international. Weapons are a no-no.
The tragic killing of Texan Bobby Ray Carter Jnr in Krabi this week was another reminder that too many Thais still come prepared for trouble by carrying concealed weapons or having quick access to them.
While the Carter family have yet to give a clear account of what happened, access to sharpened steel rods, knives, machettes and swords remains an issue.
Plainly, there are aspects to the Long Horn Saloon rumble and stabbing that trigger other unpleasant memories.
Back in January last year, Phuket resort owner-manager Vorasit ''Wan'' Issara was badly hacked while out enjoying a night in a Phuket City bar with Hollywood star Jeremy Renner.
Khun Wan's parents made a plea the following week for action to take weapons out of places of entertainment and for police to remove them from the hands of young people on the streets.
While it appears that Phuket police heeded the message, the echo does not appear to have carried as far as Krabi.
Mr Carter's killing and the wounding of his son Adam was just the latest attack there in Krabi's holiday centres.
A young German woman had a thumb sliced off in an attack in Krabi Town last year and Briton Jack Cole was badly cut up in Ao Nang, the holiday town where Mr Carter was killed early on Wednesday.
The Americans who were with Mr Carter would be well advised to provide their account to the English-language media in Thailand as soon as possible.
So far, attempts have been made to accuse the Americans of starting the trouble. Reticence to speak publicly to the media in Thailand is usually taken as a sign of embarrassment at the least, and guilt at worst.
Unlike Phuket, Krabi does not have a strong English-language media corps so stories that involve wrongdoing and tourists tend to fade from the spotlight there quickly.
Nothing illustrates this better than the mysterious deaths of Canadian sisters Audrey and Noemi Belanger on the Krabi holiday island of Phi Phi in June last year and the earlier equally mysterious deaths of American Jill St Onge and Norwegian Julie Bergheim in 2009.
Krabi police did not exactly spring into action to investigate either of the double fatalties, one of the reasons why the four mystery deaths still remain unsolved.
The Carter family's reluctance to speak out is unfortunate, although Phuketwan did receive an email from a correspondent who said his name was Bobby Carter III.
He wrote perhaps the only family account of what happened so far:
''There is nothing that can justify the murder of my father. He was there spending money that he didn't have to spend there.
''He was just a customer who was leaving upset from a place he didn't feel gave him what he paid for.
''The band then should of took a different roal (sic) as they didn't they followed my family outside the exit door where they where leaving (hello leaving out the EXIT door...)
He wasn't stabed (sic) inside the salon he was killed outsid on the sidewalk... That means the band got off the stage and followed him outside (where again he was leaving) then got right up in his face and stabbed him where also my stepmom was hit by a shotgun (which they fail to mention) my brother tried to save my dad where then he was also stabbed in the arm...
''I mean come on since when is it ok to kill your unhappy customer...This is so low ... that other news are making it seem like my dad went to this bar picked a fight with band members .. and then dragged them outside to be stabbed by the band...))
''That's the way they make it seem... Hey its all about keeping it on the low so that the next family will still come to there (sic) stupid bar to sing with a stupid band who wants to get paid but not make the customer happy.. if it wasn't for tourist they would be begging for food from us...
''I mean how you going justify this.. Yes Bar+Beer+people= a night spot .. Do you really think there are sober people spending money at a s*** hole of a place..
''when your there you would want to relax and enjoy your Bday with your family ...I cant believe this has happened... My dad gone because of ungreatful idiots..RIP dad I love you..''
Phuketwan has no reason to believe that the email was not written by Bobby Carter III. But a more complete account of what happened is required to make sure that other accounts do not influence a just outcome.
Phuket's reputation is equally affected by shocking incidents in Krabi and Phang Nga and the region's police should be in total agreement in assiduously pursuing the truth.
Tourism officials know that's what has to happen. Justice must be seen to be done.
When a representative from Krabi's Tourism Authority of Thailand office spoke with Adam Carter at Bangkok Hospital Phuket, where he was treated for his stab wound, the impression was given that he was ''very upset'' and perhaps even angry at his father's death.
That's understandable. But if the events are genuinely being misrepresented, then it's best not to get angry, but to get even. Make sure the truth is told.
Adam Carter has since returned to Krabi from Phuket.
Meanwhile, although the reputation of the Andaman provinces as a holiday destination continues to grow, it's plain that the police have a lot of work to do to get weapons out of the hands of musicians, taxi and tuk-tuk drivers, bar staff and everyone else who deals with tourists.