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Onlookers at the site where the nameless expat was found hanged

Phuket Expat Body Found Hanged in Jungle Near Freedom Beach

Thursday, January 26, 2012
PHUKET: An unidentified expat man has been found hanged from a tree on an isolated road that leads to Phuket's controversial Freedom Beach, south of Patong.

Police are not yet recording the death as a suicide because of abrasions to the man's lower back and his right hand. However, the man may have slipped and fallen when trying to rig a nylon cord to a tree.

There was no identification on the body. Photographs taken at the scene show the man is aged 30 to 35, tall and with short cropped hair, and a beard. He was wearing white shorts and a white t-shirt with a grey pattern on the front.

A Burmese named ''Mr Boo'' came across the body, in a grove of trees on a creek bank, about 6pm last night, between Le Meridien Resort, which is located south of Patong, and Freedom Beach.

Police estimate the man had probably been dead for about five hours.

It's the third death this year linked indirectly to the controversial beach, where senior Bangkok government authorities are investigating the validity of a land title to 65 rai of shorefront property.

A journalist who first raised the issue, Wisut ''Ae'' Tangwittayaporn, 44, was shot dead by assassins in Phuket City's main throuoghfare on January 12. Police have arrested one man and are hunting three more.

A man who worked as a security guard for the beach property, Narong Piromrak, 54, was found hanged in the bathroom at his home in nearby Tritrang beach on January 22. Police have been told he felt pressured when questioned about his knowledge of the beach and its land title.

Another body, taken to Surat Thani for autopsy after being discovered in jungle near Cape Promthep, in southern Phuket, earlier this month, has yet to be identified. Police are uncertain whether that body, undiscovered for several days, is Thai or expat.

People on Phuket feeling depressed or down should talk to friends or family about how they feel or consult a doctor.


Comments have been disabled for this article.


The amount of suicides and accidental deaths on the Island have reached epidemic proportion. I have taken the time to go through the archives of Phuketwan and various other blogs and media outlets.

When you add up all the reports of questionable suicides, heart attacks, accidental deaths over the past year, the numbers are sickening!

I have taken the time to publish and article detailing a list of some of the most bizarre cases, for obvious reasons I can not provide a link, article is titled "Trouble In Paradise? Suicide And Accidental Death Reach Epidemic Proportion On The Island Of Phuket!"

Posted by Jesse on January 26, 2012 10:48

Editor Comment:

That would be a total exaggerated michmash, Jesse, merely highlighting the extreme paranoia among some expats. We've looked at a selection of the so called ''questionable suicides'' and the only real question is why people waste their time questioning them. If there were an excessive number of unexplained deaths among expats on Phuket, the honorary consuls would be united in their concern. They're not. A more constructive objective on your part would be to campaign for the introduction of a proper coronial system in Thailand. That would be useful. Collecting material from sites that promote paranoia and post material from unreliable sources is a total waste of time.


I won't even bother responding to your criticism, I am sure that your readers will have something to say in response. They will surely let you have it..

Posted by Jesse on January 26, 2012 11:09

Editor Comment:

Jesse, there are enough real issues on Phuket without making them up. Do something constructive for a change.


Jesse seems to have collected most of his material from your website. Are you saying that Phuketwan is one of these sites "that promote paranoia and post material from unreliable sources"? Shurely shome mishtake?

Posted by Philip Smith on January 26, 2012 11:50

Editor Comment:

Nah, we've made it perfectly plain that there aren't enough mysterious deaths on Phuket to cause general alarm and paranoia, Philip. I have no intention of giving even vague support to this empty-headed proposition. But there are plenty of sites that promote paranoia. Just don't infect us here, Philip.


Call me paranoid too, but this is another dodgy looking death which there have been way too many of lately. Ed, I'm sorry but you need to wake up and stop toning everything down as it wont help anything.

Posted by Glassy on January 26, 2012 15:25

Editor Comment:

Make up your mind, do we call you Glassy or Paranoid too? We don't tone anything down, nor do we allow vivid imaginations to run riot. The people who say ''there have been way too many dodgy looking deaths lately'' never are able to support their claims with logic. It's a shameful waste of time and, as this is your first post, very suss.


Hold on one second, you say "The people who say ''there have been way too many dodgy looking deaths lately'' never are able to support their claims with logic." I believe I have taken the time to support my claim with a healthy list of stories collected mainly from your own website, and within 48 hrs of publishing my finding I have heard from hundreds of people, and so far you are the only one questioning my sense of logic!

Posted by Jesse on January 26, 2012 15:45

Editor Comment:

It's not difficult to attract an audience with paranoia. This article should be at the top of your list:

Phuket's '50 Unexplained Deaths' Attract a Scaremonger

I don't plan on wasting any more time on this.


Seems a lot of trouble to get to this particular spot to commit suicide. The popular door knob method in the comfort of your own room would have been easier.

Posted by Soupdragon on January 26, 2012 15:57

Editor Comment:

There are no rules about comfort when it comes to suicide. Some people go out of their way to avoid making trouble for others.


I think that in general terms, the editor is correct to a point, but it would be a bold move to totally dismiss the notion of staged suicide in all of the circumstances. (After all, try googling 'made to look like suicide'.) I support the establishment of a western-style coronial system, and I also hope that the police conduct meticulous investigations into these recent incidents.

Posted by Ping on January 26, 2012 16:16


It is completely inaccurate!

You completely forgot all the people who fall off balconies in Patong!

Editor: Is it not clear Phuket Consuls do not have much influence on the island? Not much they can do for a dead person. And there efforts for live tourist and expats seem to be in vain.

Posted by Nancy Botwin on January 26, 2012 17:22

Editor Comment:

Just not true, Nancy. There's now a clearly established course of action that is followed more often than not when expats find themselves in trouble, and the honorary consuls usually can and do help. And we anticipate action on Phuket this year on some long-standing sources of aggravation, thanks to the honorary consuls. You've got a double negative in that sentence, so it's difficult to interpret your meaning.


I am saying that Phuket Consuls, despite all their very diligent and tenacious efforts, actions and pleas, have not been able to change Phuket for the better? Was it not recently I read in PW that yet again one of the Consuls was yet again not notified of a death (attack or arrest?)?

Posted by Nancy Botwin on January 26, 2012 17:37

Editor Comment:

Two years ago, complaints from tourists went to the TAT, and the TAT then passed them on to the appropriate department to address. The honorary consuls' meetings have provided a forum for open discussion of the problems experienced by residents and tourists. Many of the topics that were once viewed as taboo topics are now discussed openly. There will inevitably be breaches of deals and misunderstandings. But as we've written, the outlook for change has never been as promising as it is in 2012.


"People on Phuket feeling depressed or down should talk to friends or family about how they feel or consult a doctor."

This is very true and I suspect that there are many people who need some consultation.

Posted by Relic on January 26, 2012 18:22


Jesse: Total paranoid rubbish, without corroborative actuarial data.

Editor: The highly sensationalised, tabloid manner in which you report these deaths contributes to the paranoia. There is never simply a death; it 's always a "mystery death", "unexplained death", "suspicious death", "horror smash up" or some such thing.

Honestly, it's little wonder your blog attracts the paranoid conspiracy theorists who post here.

Posted by Matt on January 26, 2012 18:33

Editor Comment:

Just not true, Matt. If it was a normal death from natural causes, it wouldn't be news. I can't recall using the phrase ''horror smash up'' so for someone who is alleging that liberties have been taken with language, you are being hypocritical. You'll have to establish that a death we've described as mysterious has not been mysterious to prove you have any kind of point. I think you'll have some trouble. We don't ''highly senationalise'' anything. We don't have to. We plead guilty, though, to writing eye-catching headings that relate the event with accuracy. In case you haven't noticed, we are not a tabloid.


I'm from Asia, not lying, you can check my IP. When we Asian's go to Europe or America for holidays, we don't end up dead like many farangs do in "mysterious circumstances" in Asia. Even if we Asian's die in the west...The ratio of death like by murder, shooting, accident, suicide, poison, rape is CERTAIN than "Mysterious" may be like 9 out of 10 death will be certain from causes than contemplating on what happened.

However, for western tourist, the ratio of mysterious death is very high in Asia compared to Asians in Europe.

I think that is the point Jesse is making and i agree...being an Asian, I find it highly suspicious that farangs keep dying off "mysteriously" in Asia as if some Aliens with big eyes and large heads are doing it casually and Asian authorities have no answer to it

Posted by Sachin on January 27, 2012 13:35

Editor Comment:

When they travel, Westerners enjoy the freedom that most Asian countries give them to break free from rules and convention. So they ride motorcycles without helmets, take drugs and party, and generally put themselves at risk in ways they wouldn't do back home. Some of them also forget to take their medication. Others find themselves in deep emotional traumas of one kind or another. In the West, many would spend their time at work or sitting on a sofa, watching tv. When travelling or living in a country where you can be outdoors all year round, people make the most of it . . . without understanding that some activities are bound to be risky. Asians in Europe, Australia and America do get murdered, raped and robbed. The prime difference is in the diagnosis of death. In the West, there are inquests (even in the case of Britain on Britons who have died in Asia) or an equivalent form of finality. In Thailand and other parts of Asia, there is often no final independent conclusion, and often a police report or a doctor's examination, short of an autopsy, will suffice. To link every expat murder, suicide and death by misadventure is daft. All of these unfortunate people have governments who take an interest in their well being at home and overseas. If there were an excessive number of unexplained deaths, they would speak out and become involved - as the New Zealand government and other governments did in Chiang Mai last year, and as the Norwegian government did when two tourists died on Phi Phi from a genuinely unexplained reason a couple of years back. To look for a conspiracy or ''murder by suicide'' in every case is plain silly.


Readers and Ed, you have to face the facts, I personally am happy in Phuket but many foreigners come here to run away from their problems, money, divorce etc and as the visas are easy to get etc they are emotionally vulnerable. Then many fall in love" get ripped off by the bargirl, also perhaps a bad propoerty deal. A Thai friend of mine told me how I guy I know fell in "love" and within about 6 months had spent 3 million Baht on a bargirl"who left him. He still has money and left Thailand, some cannot. It is a shame but people need to be aware, sex is not love. Consuls etc cannot stop people coming here out of the people's free choice but people need to be aware lke anywhere else there is good and bad. People come here in some cases are vunerable as they have had a bad experience in their country, therefore given the demographics of the foreigners there will be more suicides. It is just a fact. Some of these birgirls if they leave their kids how easy it is to leave a man. However there is still a lot to offer, lovely beaches, food, cheap, warm and genuine women but not so easy in the bar where most foreign men start looking. Suicides are very sad but not easy to solve unless perhaps they make the visas harder but then there is Cambodia etc.

Posted by Asitis. on January 27, 2012 16:01


What's all the fuss about these dubious suicides? The police are far to busy dealing with more important things! There are people out there with 10 grams of weed on them! Let Thailands finest carry on hunting them down; don't worry about possible murders....

Posted by Anonymous on January 27, 2012 19:54

Editor Comment:

Goodness, not someone else who believes people don't kill themselves on a sunny tropical holiday island.


On a related topic of a body of a foreign man found floating off Coral Island: There's been a fair few of those in recent times too. Of course, the guy could have just drowned and this may be true, but how come there are these unidentified bodies that keep being shown on the news that no one seems to know anything about? Surely someone saw him going out for a swim somewhere or saw him falling off a boat?

Posted by Glassy on January 28, 2012 06:09

Editor Comment:

There's a body in a bag on a beach near Sydney airport, as well, and a head and a couple of hands found in the Hollywood hills. Like every other place on the planet, Phuket has its unexplained fatalities. There is no way of knowing what happened with bodies found in the sea, unless someone comes forward with information, or unless there is evidence that points towards the manner of death. Going swimming alone is a risk some people are prepared to take. People do slip and fall on rocks. People do suffer heart attacks. People do fall off fishing boats. The list of possibilities is endless. But if the body isn't in a bag, and if the head and limbs are still attached, chances are there may be nothing sinister about the death. It's worth pointing out that people even drown among other swimmers at popular Phuket beaches, too often. Statistical aberrations also occur all the time - there was a string of expat motorcycle deaths over New Year, for example. The bottom line is, no reasonable conclusions can be drawn. For now, it's another mystery. And it may remain a mystery. By the way, the body is not necessarily of an expat. It's best not to jump to conclusions, or form opinions that aren't soundly based on fact.


Alan, just a day after you said "If there were an excessive number of unexplained deaths among expats on Phuket, the honorary consuls would be united in their concern. They're not" And now another mysterious death is reported, just how many of these will it take before you believe it is a legitimate concern?

Posted by Jesse on January 28, 2012 10:38

Editor Comment:

Jesse, there will always be coincidence and statistical anomalies - as with several expats being killed on motorcycles over New Year, as with two expats being murdered in one week a couple of years back (expat paranoia peaked on Phuket that week.) Some of these so-called ''mysterious deaths'' are not even confirmed as expats yet! To raise alarm without cause is foolish. You quote our articles as being accurate, then reject our reasoning for there being no conspiracy. Is a serial killer on the loose? Not on Phuket. Is your concern legitimate? No, not even close to reasonable.



Please don't put words in my mouth, I have never suggested there is a serial killer, nor do I think that is a reasonable estimation. I simply pointed out that there are a staggering amount of unexplained deaths, then I listed them. Since I published my article, we are averaging another mystery death each day that passes. These cases remain "unexplained", so what is it exactly that you find inaccurate about what I am saying?

Posted by Jesse on January 28, 2012 11:12

Editor Comment:

I didn't say that you suggested there was a serial killer loose, Jesse. Your ability to make assumptions is breathtaking. But just what are you suggesting, apart from promoting unnecessary fear? There will always be unexplained deaths on Phuket because there is no finality to establishing the cause of death to match the coronial system, or its equivalents elsewhere in the West. Your list will inevitably grow, increasing the concern among those who are by nature inclined to be paranoid. There is no cause for alarm, and nothing unusual about the number of deaths, or the frequency. You're scare-mongering, Jesse. That is unwise, and not in the best interests of anyone.


Alan, what you call "scare-mongering", I call creating public awareness and promoting discussion, which is a necessary process if you want to see change. You admit that you would like to see Phuket adopt the coronial system similar to western countries, just how do you expect this to happen if we don't have open discussions highlighting the concern regarding the lack of explanations regarding expat deaths?

Posted by Jesse on January 28, 2012 11:31

Editor Comment:

That's your purpose in compiling your list? Changing the law in Thailand? Well, why didn't you say so. The point is that, like all lists, your list has no real validity. Every death has a different cause. The point is about better rulings on individual cases, not putting them in lists that have no meaning . . . except to cause needless alarm. This is not solely a problem for expat deaths, you may be surprised to know, Jesse, but for ALL deaths. No special system to end disquiet among expats is likely, given that all people in Thailand are equal before the law. Your efforts to reform the Thai system would stand a better chance if they were directed at the ambassadors and Thai MPs. Otherwise, you'll just continue to scare people, without a real point.


It's dreadful stereotyping, I know, but any article that has an exclamation mark in the headline, as has Jesse's, tends to have been written in la-la land.

Posted by Tanya Millibank on January 30, 2012 21:03

Editor Comment:

Thai-la-la-land to be precise.


Now I have heard it all! An article full of factual information collected from reports published in PhuketWan, is not valid because of an exclamation mark?

Posted by Jesse on February 1, 2012 12:55

Editor Comment:

I can't speak for other readers, but the exclamation mark is for exclamations, for example: Wow! Help! or Don't shoot! Its use in inappropriate situations - on the end of headlines, for example - usually brings accusations of sensationalism or, in this particular case, pursuing an unlikely theory. Your use of Phuketwan's material is out of context and entirely inappropriate.


I must say, this young man was at school at Hilton College here in my Village, and from all local reports, Facebook pages, he was a happy chap with a nice secure teaching job he was heading to. Non of us thought he would commit suicide, but reading the article which says he lived in seclusion for days, can put a new spin on the issue, perhaps he did not want to go teach, perhaps he met someone and got hurt, we will never know, but i read your paper daily and I am getting concerned for my own safety in Phuket, Is this right or should i just chill, I think the fact that i don't go out to nightclubs, get drunk, and upset others possibly is on my side.
I really can't help but doubt my safety when there though.

Posted by Gregg Cornell on February 17, 2012 22:36

Editor Comment:

As we continue to say, 99.9 percent of tourists who visit Phuket have a great time and go home safely. Most of them also enjoy their holidays. We report incidents that shouldn't happen - that's what makes them news. The roads and the beaches are safer than they've ever been, but there are thuggish elements who need to be brought under control. Those who note a rise in ''mystery deaths'' among expats are misguided or intent on mischief-making. There's no such trend. Only the family are entitled to reveal more about Mark Robson's case now.


Wow, many comments under! Its not long time ago i started reading Phuket Wan. I've been in Phuket 5 times, first time for 9 years ago. (im missing that time, because it was not so many tourists.)

I have seen accidents many times in phuket, and i almost starts crying when I see them. So sad. Yes many western tourists die in phuket, why? They are not so carefull.. And they dont care? If you have money in Thailand you can do or get what ever you want.. They say so? and many people who hasn't been there before does not know what to stay away from, and who to stay away from. In thailand you have gangs, crimminal, drugs, prostitutes and more.

I have never seen a drunk thai, or a very angry thai or something like that.
But i see deadly drunk norwegian, sweedish etc. And i see tourist using drugs..

I think for some one thailand / phuket means freedom. I feel freedom when im there. Phuket it paradise for me. I can do what i want. Go to the beach, eat out, shopping, looking at how people live, talking to thai people. Thai people are the kindest people i have ever met. They can help you, and they are doing all they can for the family.

In norway we cant eat out. Too expensive, we own a house, have tv, clean or own house, we have a car or two. But we need to drive to work everyday.. Drive to nbrs, drive to school.. We make own food for whole family. Work from 7:00-1600

And once a year or less we travel to phuket. Eating out, not washing house and have that freedom / vaction from cold shitty norway.

I love Phuket.
I was suppose to be there now, but im down with the flu. Next year im comming to have the best time of 2013 or my life?

Rest in peace evryone who accidental deaths over the past year and in 2012.

I hope the numbers can change and tourist can be more carfull while driving & drinking. and always use helmetts!

Posted by Michelle Norway on February 29, 2012 16:57

Thursday December 9, 2021
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