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Phuket Labelled 'Death Trap for Swedes' by Tabloid

Sunday, October 21, 2012
PHUKET: A Swedish newspaper has launch yet another attack on Phuket based on false information and wild exaggeration.

Aftonbladet, once a well-regarded source, now has a growing reputation among well-informed Swedes for distortions and outright lies about Phuket.

The latest ridiculous asertions come under the front-page headline: ''DANGEROUS THAILAND Paradise Island a death trap for Swedes.''

The article stitches together a series of events in which the only real connection is coincidence.

Highlighting the murder of Australian travel agent Michelle Smith on Phuket earlier this year, Aftonbladet says she was ''stabbed to death by two men on a motorcycle who stole her purse.''

In fact, Michelle Smith refused to let go of her handbag. That's the reason why she was knifed.

The article also says ''there has been a boycott'' by Australian visitors since the murder.

That's far from the truth. Australians continue to come in great numbers, and Mrs Smith's husband is among those who acknowledge that Phuket shouldn't be blamed for his wife's murder.

The two men were quickly arrested and sentenced to long jail terms. In fact, Mrs Smith's death led to a campaign to make Phuket safer for tourists.

A network of security cameras and volunteer neighborhood groups have, according to police, led to a reduction of 30 percent in crime in and around Patong, the holiday destination on Phuket's west coast.

But that's good news. Aftonbladet does not report good news about Phuket.

The article goes on to say that ''deadly jellyfish are found in the waters around Phuket, usually at high tide and [after] rain.''

Untrue. There has never been a recorded encounter with the deadly box jellyfish, which appears to be what the paragraph is about, on Phuket's popular west coast beaches.

A report in Britain's 'Daily Mail' recently mentioned Phuket in connection with treatment of a tourist's nasty jellyfish wound. But the sting turned out to have been inflicted 600 kilometres away from Phuket.

There's no denying that four people were killed in a discotheque fire in Patong, that too many tourists drown on Phuket's beaches between mid-May and mid-July, and that jet-ski scams, water pollution, garbage disposal and excessively high taxi fares remain problems for Phuket.

To lump these issues in with a series of other deaths among Swedes from falls, drug overdoses and road crashes on and around Phuket is, as most thoughtful Aftonbladet readers will agree, ridiculous.

Envoys at the Swedish embassy acknowledge that, as with French visitors lately, the number of Swedes who have died on Phuket this year is far from sinister, just a rather sad statistical abberration.

There may be some damage to Phuket's reputation from the Aftonbladet article among Swedes who are unable to think for themselves. But on reflection, that may not be such a bad thing.

Here is the (admittedly rough) Google translation of the original Aftonbladet article:

The Dangerous Thailand
Michelle Smith was attacked when she was returning to the Swedish hotel Katathani Beach Resort right on the beach and the azure sea on Phuket. She did not have a chance. She bled to death on the street while the robbers disappeared with her purse on the motorcycle. The murder of Michelle Smith is a crude example of how the Swedish tourist paradise in a few years changed. Today is greed, corruption and violence that controls on the popular holiday island.

They murdered MICHELLE, 60
When the two men who later were convicted of knife murder of travel agent Michelle Smith (in handcuffs on Vespa) ley was at the crime scene was the closest lynch atmosphere. The murder, and other crimes on the island, has enabled Australia on several occasions has issued travel warnings for Phuket. "The island is dying strypdoden" said a hotelier.

PHUKET. Raw Murder, drownings and mysterious deaths.
Serious traffic accidents and fires.
It has been a black year in the Swedish tourist paradise.
And now approaching the high season - which may be one of the last of Phuket as a popular holiday island.
At the long beach in Patong waves roll in, few cruise ships appear on the horizon and the tourists half asleep in their colorful deckchairs. Some bathe. Those who rent jet skis, various vendors and masseurs screaming at each other in the mouth.
Phuket is subjected to a crude exploitation in the last ten years. Now reality has caught up with those responsible. Politicians, investors, novelty vendors and taxi drivers all face a very bleak future - unless the authorities take vigorous action.
- Greed and corruption have driven Phuket at the bottom. The island is dying strypdoden says a hotel owner who wishes to remain anonymous told Aftonbladet.
The problems in Phuket can be divided into three major groups:
.. Crime and fiddles affecting tourists and gives bad reputation.
.. Roads, sewage, waste and water that is not enough to handle millions of holidaymakers.
.. Environmental degradation littering, broken coral and black built hotel in the nature reserves.
The explanation for the problems stated, however, remain the same: the possibility of quick money, one through corrupt society where everything and everyone can be bought, and no one thinks long term.
At least 2.3 million tourists
This year, 2.3 million tourists visit Phuket only by air. Once the airport expansion is complete in 2015, the number doubled.
Equation does not add up.
Statistics also show that the number of tourists from previously strong visit countries decreases, for example, from Australia and some European countries. They are replaced by new, wealthy people from other countries. So far this year tops China visit the league, followed by Malaysia, Russia, Japan, South Korea and India.
The figures also show that a total of 373,856 Swedes traveled to Thailand in 2011, many of them went on to Phuket. The first half of this year was 261,888 Swedes. There are various information on booking situation for the season among Swedish tour operators. But a strong Swedish krona makes other attractive destinations such as the Caribbean.
Australians cruelly robbed and killed
Australia has repeatedly issued travel warnings for Phuket. But now there is almost a boycott. The reason is the cruel murder of raw travel agent Michelle Smith, 60, last summer. She was stabbed to death by two men on a motorcycle who stole her purse. Michelle Smith was part of a group from different travel agencies in Australia Perth who was in Phuket to discover news of the resort. Two men have been convicted of murder. When the grass was at the murder scene was lynch atmosphere.
But it is not only to deter crime.
During April and May, when the southwest monsoon create dangerous waves, drowned several people on the beaches of Kata and Karon. During the period lifeguards strike for higher wages.
Disco Fire after short circuit
And on the morning of 17 August this year burned disco Tiger at Midway Bangla Road in Patong Beach. Four people died in the flames, eleven were injured. Just a pure wonder that not more fatalities. At least 200 people were on the premises when the fire broke out. There they had taken shelter against a heavy rain. But the water caused a short circuit - soon the building was in flames.
- The place has been notorious for years. The owners have only been looking to make money and had a rough style, among other things, against the authorities. I have been beaten by guards once inside, says the Swede Lars.
Phuket is already a nightmare charter and its tarnished reputation worldwide hit all the Thai tourism.
Now the island has a new police chief, Chote Chawanwiwat, who comes from a military chief minister of the war going on in southern Thailand. He says:
- I will have zero tolerance for drug dealers and crooks. If their business continues to be treated in the same way as the terrorists in the South.
Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra is also very concerned and has allocated the equivalent of 500 million to a project to implement quality improvements in 29 destinations, among them Phi Phi Island, Patong and Phuket City's older areas.
To see a more luxurious Phuket
- I want to see a green Phuket and a focus on eco-tourism to attract quality tourists back. This region must also work together to create sustainable development, she said recently at a conference in Krabi.
Several wealthy Thais and foreign investors would, however, see a very different future for Phuket: more luxury properties such as hotels, villas, spas and schools.
They want more exclusivity. A kind of Monaco in the tropics.

Here are seven dangers that threaten tourists
1 Rent water scooter, they are fun to drive, but the problems start when you come back. The aggressive renters can damage and want to be paid directly for repairs. The complicated insurance policies offered on the beach, of course not.
2 Hire motorbike Same design as water scooters. Can cost 30,000 to 40,000 baht, nearly 9000 billion, to repair.
3 Taxi The taxi mafia-like cartels on the island have set their own rates. Of course, the prices compared to the normal rate. For example, the cost distance from Patong to the airport 800 baht, about 170 million. And there is no public transport. Sharing minibus costs 150 baht, about 30 bucks for the same distance.
4 Traffic Is dangerous with its narrow roads, dense traffic, high speeds, traffic systems and inexperienced tourists without a helmet on a motorcycle.
5 robberies and pickpockets Appears everywhere else. Common security measures - such as having value - things left on site, keeping track of purse and wallet and watch out in the crowd - usually good enough.
6 bath water quality is changing, sometimes very low. Particularly after rain, mainly at Patong and Karon. They usually sewage overflow and leak into the sea. It is difficult to get accurate measurements. Avoid swimming with open wounds.
7 Deadly Jellyfish Different species of the highly dangerous kubmaneten found in the waters around Phuket, usually occurs at high tide and rain.
Drugs, accidents and murders have taken 20 Swedes' lives
In 2011
.. Traffic accident, 23/1 A 32-year-old Swedish on motorcycle collides with a power pole outside Duangjitt Resort in Patong and ports for a sexhjulig truck. Man dies immediately.
.. Traffic accident, 22/7 A 54-year-old Swedish hoteliers in Phuket killed after he drove off the road with his motorcycle. He was found badly injured by some passers but dies later.
.. Murder, 1/8 A Swedish man in 25-year-old from Gothenburg knife murdered outside his home by two peers Swedes. The reason can be found in a scam company with telecommunications services as the three ran together in Pattaya. The trial is ongoing.
.. Mysterious death, 20/12 A 21-year-old woman from Skane found dead aboard a private yacht at Patong Beach. She worked on board the 90-meter yacht. The cause of death is unknown but police do not think the offense is behind.
In 2012
Motorcycle Accident, 5/1 A 48-year-old Swedish military lost control of his motorcycle on a curve and went straight into a house. He was dead when police arrived at the scene. The man had served in the NATO force in Afghanistan but was on vacation when the accident occurred.
.. Traffic accident, 2/2 Four young people in their 20s from Varberg collides with a refrigerator that have come into the wrong file in Phang Nga, north of Phuket. Adolescents Toyota was completely destroyed in the crash. The Swedes and their driver died instantly. Truck driver slipped from the scene but was arrested later. He has not yet received its judgment. The Swedes were to Koh Tao on the East Coast to dive when the accident occurred.
.. Fall Accident, 25/2 A man in his 30s fell three stories from a hotel balcony in Karon Beach, on Phuket. He fell through a metal roof before he landed on the ground. The man later died of his serious head injuries.
.. Motorcycle Accident, 26/2 A man in a 45-year-old was killed when he was meeting at a sharp curve on Karon Beach and collided head violently with a passenger car.
.. Overdose, 14/3 35-year-old man found dead in his hotel room. The autopsy shows a drug overdose.


Comments have been disabled for this article.


When all truths be told, Phuket and its problems are really no different than any other highly visible, well traveled tourist destination. I am upset to hear that the Swedes think they have an edge on unfortunate situations. Bad things can happen anywhere, any time and to anyone. Time to stop only adds to the problem...Start becoming part of the solution by being a bit more responsible for your own actions and choices.

Posted by Ted Davis on October 21, 2012 13:09


You forgot to mention the open and blatent rasism that exists in Thailand which is becoming more of an issue with regards to foreigners visiting the country. In partcicular, medical care which has been recently in the headlines and its rather open confirmation that descrimination is very much alive and kicking with regards to price structuring, something that doesn't go down well with a lot of tourists.

Yes, Thailand is under the spotlight and those in power should take heed that such articles will only continue to exist whilst Thailand blatently treats foreigners with contempt.

Posted by reader on October 21, 2012 13:55

Editor Comment:

Total rubbish, reader. There are sound and logical reasons for people taking out travel insurance, or health insurance. A two-tiered payment system is not a sign of ''racism'' but a legitimate reflection of the difference between Thais who spend their lives paying for the health care system and non-Thais. Most countries have similar structures. Most countries treat non-nationals differently to citizens. A two-tiered system is also the simplest way of asking the Haves and the Have-nots to pay what they can afford.


"Highlighting the murder of Australian travel agent Michelle Smith on Phuket earlier this year, Aftonbladet says she was ''stabbed to death by two men on a motorcycle who stole her purse.''

In fact, Michelle Smith refused to let go of her handbag. That's the reason why she was knifed. "

So you mean it was her own fault for holding on to her handbag? Seriously?

In fact, almost everything in the article is correct, as you well know. And it should be a warning bell to authorities that the old stock of tourists slowly but surely are taking their business elsewhere.

And, by the way, "strypdoden" means slowly strangulated to death....

Posted by Remarkable on October 21, 2012 15:12

Editor Comment:

Remarkable, we write the articles, you provide your own interpretation.

It would be possible to take all the negatives about Stockholm, for example, and work those into an article aimed at dissuading people from going there. I am willing to bet people have been murdered in Stockholm, raped in Stockholm, and robbed in Stockholm, and that the prices of some items are probably far too high, and that you could find plenty of reasons for not going there. But what would be the point? People would laugh. They should do the same with distorted, unfair articles about Phuket.


Swedish newspapers only report bad news and distort them to even look more bad. They also lie all the time and hide the truth. Never report on good news.
All my friends hate Aftonbladet aka Aftonhoran (Evening whore)
Yes, I'm Swedish and will move to lovely Thailand very soon.

Posted by Hempa on October 21, 2012 16:27


I'm afraid defending a system that is openly racist is condoning descrimination. You should know better than to uphold a belief that actively promotes a two-tiered pricing structure which is certainly not tolerated in the civilised world. Thailand unfortunately has yet to reach this level where every human-being is respected regardles of race, colour or creed and as such treated as equal.

We must however acknowledge that Thailand has still a long way to go when it comes to human rights, and must subsequently be mindful that it is a third-world country striving to rise to the challenges that it faces.

In respect to the newspaper in question, certainly they are oblidged to raise awareness of the problems that foreigners continually face, and of course have an obligation of reporting such instances where it is deemed to be in the public interest.

Whilst I enjoy reading your articles, it must be said that you seem to be rather defensive when Thailand is criticised in any way. Naturally freedom of speech must prevail, and they are of course entitled to express their opinions regardless of whether the content can potentially be damaging to the image of Thailand itself.

Posted by reader on October 21, 2012 16:46

Editor Comment:

You're the one using the word ''racism'' out of context, reader, and making ridiculous claims about ''the civilised world'' that indicate you really have some strange ideas. I'm not aware of any country where citizens and non-citizens are treated equally. Why would they be? (Don't bother with an answer, please.) There is no link between crime, garbage, pollution, and Swedes falling from balconies or off motorcycles. It's ridiculous to lump them all together.


This tabloid is a pathetic newspaper always putting a scandalous edge to all its news!! Being a Swede, I am glad its only published in Swedish so that the rest of the world don't have to be bothered by all the crap they write!! Believe me... Phuket is much safer than any Swedish city!!!

Posted by Teddy on October 21, 2012 17:15


If anyone these days actually believe a Tabloid, then more fool them.

Stories based on 5% truth and written to provoke an outrage. That's the whole point of this type of journalism.

Posted by Tbs on October 21, 2012 17:48


I know Phuket reasonably well. The 2 tier price system is a constant moan by farangs who have lots more money than most workers in Thailand. It may not apply at"home" but this is not home. To link it to racism is a bit weird. As for Ms Smith, well, it's been looked at from all angles. They knew the 2 robbers had been eyeing them up, she was an experienced traveller, but still tried to hang on to her handbag. Why? Golden rules - don't carry anything valuable and don't hang on if somebody tries to snatch it. It could save your life. Have you ever been to places like Rome, Naples, South America etc? Lots of fuss over a sensational article in some sort of gutter press.

Posted by Ga on October 21, 2012 18:39


Having read the original story in Swedish, I have to say there are very few, if any factual errors.

Sure they present Phuket in a very negative light but it could have been much worse. People have the right to know. Conclusions however should be left to the reader.

All the incidents and dangers they describe are true. How dangerous one perceives Phuket to be based on them is a subjective matter.

Negative stories like these are the result of local media and authorities in particular pretending everything is hunky dory and all problems have been solved.

The attitude of "We know what to report and what not" is one important catalyst. Many people are sick of impotent media on Phuket. The lone shining stars are TIP (German) and PW.

Recently a very vocal government official and a known defender of the right to overcharge foreigners claimed he'd never received any complaints about Jet-Skis. However the same official was presented with such complaints in a meeting attended foreign envoys and media.

Equally Tiger Entertainment owners and a BKK official also claimed the disco was not operating after 2am closing time.

Both of these claims are utterly ridiculous but I have not seen any local media outlet being outraged by them like PW seems to do in the case of AB.

Perhaps it's because publishing opinions of equal magnitude about locals will have very different consequences than criticizing a foreign tabloid one can't even read.

Be it as it may, when local authorities apply local solutions to problems, such as stop publishing accident or pollution data or make claims of 30% reduced crime with no supporting data, one can expect more articles like the one in question.

Secrecy and cover-up attemps only feed rumors and speculation.

Report problems openly and honestly and let everyone residing on Phuket, including it's large expat community, try to work together to find solutions.

Killing the quarterly meetings with envoys indicates that the opposite trend is prevailing.

Thus I expect an increasing number of reports in tune of the AB report in foreign media.

Posted by Andrew on October 21, 2012 18:48

Editor Comment:

Factual errors? Hmm . . . as we pointed out, Mrs Smith's bag/purse was not stolen. Her murder was actually the start of a period of less crime, rather than more crime. There has been no evidence of deadly jellyfish on Phuket's beaches; there is no link between any of the events described, covering crime, environmental damage and tourism rip-offs. Yet the article concludes Phuket is a ''Death trap for Swedes.'' The Swedish embassy rejects that idea as false and foolish. Are you kidding yourself, Andrew?

As we've pointed out, you could make the same spurious analysis of any destination and come to the same scaremongering conclusions.

''Negative stories like these are the result of local media and authorities in particular pretending everything is hunky dory and all problems have been solved.''

Nonsense. Few tourism destinations are as well-covered as Phuket has been in recent times. The problem is there will always be a tabloid like Aftonbladet that seeks to sensationalise in the hope it will survive in print a little longer, by scaring its readers. Let's hope that doesn't happen.


looks like your trips with the PTA makes you defend everything coming up from them? Is it so untrue? just want to see the good news?

Posted by mike on October 21, 2012 19:31

Editor Comment:

Perhaps you missed our report from ITB Asia about the cancellation of the Phuket Convention and Exhibition Centre project.
Nothing you have ever said about Phuket has been positive. mike,


I'm appalled that you would print "In fact, Michelle Smith refused to let go of her handbag. That's the reason why she was knifed". I'm guessing any root cause analysis would differ as to the reason, like maybe the maniac that did it was a subhuman scumbag.

Posted by Harvey on October 21, 2012 20:30

Editor Comment:

The fact you think there are ''subhuman scumbags'' rather than human beings who choose to rob at knifepoint is an indication of how readers should treat your opinion, Harvey. Don't trouble us again with your guessing, please.


Haves and not-haves seems to be Editor's new favorite expression, now even used to justify the 2 classes price system. Many countries would be branded as being racist if they would apply the same scheme. In Thailand it is ok to rip off foreigners legally. If this is published than abroad, it is called bad press. I start to wonder where the bad press really is...

Posted by Resident on October 21, 2012 20:51

Editor Comment:

''Many countries would be branded as being racist if they would apply the same scheme.'' Resident, in which countries can a person who is not a citizen of that country be sure to get medical treatment at the same cost as a citizen? Come on, don't keep us in suspense.


Although I do appreciate that the intent of Phuketwan was to highlight the perceived bias of Aftonbladet, the Swedish oposition is understandable. If one compares the most recent stats, murder has been steadily decreasing year over year in Sweden, while in Thailand it has not. Sweden is characterized by a low rate of violent crine and as such Swedes are not prepared for the mess that Phuket is. Yes, one can say other western cities are more violent, but the reality is that Swdish tourists are not heading to Compton, or Brixton or the no go arrondissements of Paris. Swedes are going to a destination marketed as "exotic bliss". The warning(s) given act to warn and alert people to the dangers of Phuket. These dangers are exacerbated the absence of a professional honest police force, a lack of local resolve to address the issues that give rise to conformtations)taxis, jetskis etc.) and a refusal of the national government to provide the necessary police personnel to Phuket.

Posted by Ryan on October 21, 2012 21:46

Editor Comment:

The fact is, more Swedes have allegedly been killed by other Swedes on Phuket than by locals. To call Phuket ''a death trap for Swedes'' is ridiculous.


I have read the Swedish text carefully...where you find the word "death trap"? Perhaps it will be useful for the editor to have a professional interpreter for not making a fool of your self?

Posted by Lars on October 21, 2012 23:48

Editor Comment:

The ''death trap'' heading was on the home page, Lars, linking to the article. When you start paying your subscription, we'll step up from Google.


"Aftonbladet, once a well-regarded source, now has a growing reputation among well-informed Swedes for distortions and outright lies about Phuket."

... well, you did not mark this article as an editorial, so please let me make a remark.

Why do you defend a torist destination like Phuket in the way that you do?

I think, it is not your business at all what other papers write about Phuket - it is press freedom - you like it or not. You can make a comment - but then please call it like this; your personal opinion.

I made my PhD about corruption on Koh Chang and Koh Lanta, I asked a lot of silly questions to people who did not like questions and I had to leave both islands.

I wonder who puts you under pressure publish an article like this.

I understand that you have to make concessions to the local powerful.

But I am sad that that there is no freedom of press in Thailand at all. Just the illusion of it - and most people believe it...

Posted by Martin on October 22, 2012 05:47

Editor Comment:

How odd that you should defend Aftonbladet yet imagine we somehow ''have to make concessions to the local powerful.'' ''Press freedom'' does not extend to exaggerations and distortions, Martin, except perhaps in your PhD. We'd prefer to stick with the truth.


What a load of rubbish. We have more issues in Perth than what goes on in Phuket.

Posted by chaseone on October 22, 2012 06:32


It seems to me that the editor here doesn't like other opinions, other than his own. That is seriously closed minded.

Posted by Charles on October 22, 2012 07:11

Editor Comment:

Your mind is about as open as a clam, Charles. We don't want opinions that go over and over the same doomstayers territory. Please give us something new. I say this because your concern about the editor is boring and you are being repetitive. Here's another comment you wrote not long ago: @Ed: don't you see that some of your readers have enough about you and your answers. you discriminate others that don't speak english as their first language, you delete posts that are not up to your standards, and so on. A lot of your readers have enough about this, so move on. look for another job, that guarantees your work permit.


Absolutely 100% true. Thailand is a very dangerous country, no. 1 in the world for deaths of Brits. (Not sure if the same applies to Swedes.) An article on ThaiVisa highlighted that gun ownership among private citizens is 4 times higher than even the Philippines, which is notorious for violent gun crime. For gun ownership, Thailand isn't far behind the USA, and in terms of readiness to use a gun and face little or no consequences, Thailand is way ahead of the USA. Don't get on the wrong side of a Thai. They will kill you and it will be covered up. It truly is the Wild West of the East, and with the atrocious standards of driving, road safety, city safety, electrical safety, pavements and building fire safety, there are dozens of ways you can die or be seriously injured in Thailand. Phuket is the most lawless and greedy place in Thailand too. What kind of place is it where taxi or tuk-tuk drivers will not only try to rip you off at every opportunity, but will also beat you with an iron bar or worse if you dare to dispute the unfair fare? The fact is, a quick trip to Bali is all you need to see what a different mentality they have down there, they speak nice English and say "sorry" to tourists all the time. They are polite and gracious to tourists in Bali and you never get the feeling you could be stabbed, shot or in a car accident, even tough traffic in the south part of Bali is even heavier than Phuket. Phuket has been going downhill for 20 years and was unbearable the last time I visited. I'll never be back.

Posted by Maurice Micklewhite on October 22, 2012 09:57

Editor Comment:

For you to say the Aftonbladet article is ''Absolutely 100% true'' even after we've pointed out the inaccuracies simply shows that Thai Visa readers will believe anything. Absolutely 100% true, Maurice.


What's rubbish is to compare Perth to Phuket with how many more residents? Thailnd IS dangerous, it tries to act like it isn't, but it is. Just look up at the wires and then drive for five minutes.

Posted by CBF on October 22, 2012 10:50

Editor Comment:

Any place will be dangerous if you look up at the wires and drive for five minutes, CBF. No wonder you're ragged at the edges.


I respcet you for having the guts to publish even the most critical comments here. Kudos for that.

I also know you will deflect, label them rubbish or just debate irrelevant semantics if you are confronted with a question you don't have a valid answer for so no point in asking more of them.

Martin, reader and Remarkable already asked plenty and you replied to none.

I would just like to say one thing - such strong criticism of both a media outlet and it's readers which is written in a language you can't even read is not very professional.

I don't think you'd blink an eye if someone who can't speak even 1 word of English said the same about PW.

I bet you'd just shake your head and laugh in disbelief. Chances are they are doing just the same in Stockholm reading your rant.

Posted by Andrew on October 22, 2012 11:53

Editor Comment:

Andrew, is there a point you wish to make about the debate over the article, or are you struggling to find something to say again?

To accuse us of being ''not very professional'' when the Aftonbladet article is clearly distorted shows the level of your confusion.

We've nailed scaremongers in the past and will continue to do so. The point is that Phuket's problems don't need to be exaggerated. They are real, and they need answers. No need to make stuff up.


Sorry, no. I apologize for wasting your time.

Plenty of things to say, but no point in saying them. Had my daily share of snide and condescending responses.

Please don't alienate all worthwhile commenters like Martin et al. The comments section is perhaps the most interesting part of PW.


Posted by Andrew on October 22, 2012 12:22

Editor Comment:

Martin certainly had plenty of good things to say on many topics and his return would be welcome. However, we won't compromise on principle.


I'm sorry did you not receive my comment last night?

Posted by Anonymous on October 22, 2012 15:10

Editor Comment:

We get lots of anonymous comments from people who don't even bother to add a name and most of them are treated as worthless.


The word "d??dsf??lla" or "death trap" is not on the home page of Aftonbladet. You are out of the blue. That means your head line is big lie. And your serious?

If Aftonbladet is such a loosy paper - why you qoute it on the accident with the Swedish teacher on Koh Lanta?

Posted by Lars on October 22, 2012 19:48

Editor Comment:

What it means, Lars, is that you were too slow. They change the front page every day. You didn't think to look there, and you missed it. We actually attributed the article to and they mentioned Aftonbladet. Aftonbladet probably get some things right some of the time . . . you could learn from that.


Well, today Swedish state television added salt to the wound by informing about the sorry state for Burmese workers at the resorts where Swedish charter tourists stay. According to thai law a mother with a new-born baby may have 45 days off, but Burmese women get laid off immediately, informed that thai law doesn't apply to them.
The news program also talked about very low salaries for the Burmese.

Posted by Remarkable on October 23, 2012 14:29


Dear Editor,
You just lost another reader.

Your views on Phuket's problems are distorted. It seems you are desperate to save Phuket's image, but instead of trying to be constructive and use your newspaper as a global sounding board of ideas and support to overcome the issues, you soften the jaded edges of the knife that is tearing Phuket apart!

Posted by Tony B. on October 24, 2012 16:07

Editor Comment:

Tony B.,we didn't know we had you as a reader. And plainly, you haven't been a reader for long or you wouldn't make such a fatuous, untrue statement. For a start, we are not and never have been a newspaper. And your similes are appallingly bad.


I have said it before and I will keep saying it. "I feel safer walking the streets of Patong or Phuket at night then I do walking down Mitchell Street in Darwin on any night in police uniform."
I have to completely agree with Ted Davis closing comment: "Start becoming part of the solution by being a bit more responsible for your own actions and choices."
We have drunks going out at night with the purpose of getting in fights, we have 200 people running amok in a remote own because they want "payback" under tribal laws for crimes that are being punished under modern law. On any given night we will have at least a dozen disturbances and assaults in an area of about six city blocks.
Given that, Phuket is an island of calm.

Posted by Arthur Gane on October 25, 2012 06:26


Editor, after re-reading the article and comments, I believe you and Jamie Monk are highly compensated by the travel industry, otherwise you would know the Aftonbladet article is accurate.

I am with other readers of; I am now an ex-reader and will tell others to read the other papers in town.

Posted by Realist on October 27, 2012 13:23

Editor Comment:

Realist, if you think the Aftonbladet piece is ''accurate'' I have to assume you've never read Phuketwan before today. Jamie who? What ''other papers''?


Just read up on the comments... Stockholm, with a comparable amount of people to Phuket has approximately 5000 violent crimes (ex rape, bodily harm etc) reported to the police per year, with an increase of 3% as compared to last year! Sweden tops the european statistics for rapes... So, why isnt stockholm marked as a death trap... Just wondering...

Posted by Teddy on October 27, 2012 15:54

Editor Comment:

Sweden tops the European statistics for rapes? Who'd have thought it. I wonder whether Aftonbladet thinks that's worth reporting.


"The fact is, more Swedes have allegedly been killed by other Swedes on Phuket than by locals. To call Phuket ''a death trap for Swedes'' is ridiculous."

um... so you can only use the term "death trap" when the people are killed by locals? They never said "Phuket is a place filled with Thai people who kill Swedes" Who's distorting the facts now?

Posted by madeupname on October 27, 2012 21:37

Editor Comment:

There are two sentences, madeupname. You may read them both. Whether you wish to jump to the conclusion that there is a direct relationship between the two is entirely your affair. But I know I won't be able to stop you.


How much is TAT supporting Phuketwan with in terms of money? Try to save a sinking ship? Swedish people are intelligent enough to see whats happening on Phuket, thats why the go to Carribeans insteda. Now Phuket scammer cna cheat Indians and Chinese instead

Posted by Lars on October 27, 2012 22:04

Editor Comment:

Some of the Chinese and Indians can probably even spell.

We've never had any money from the TAT. Perhaps being Swedish, you are not taught the value of doing something out of principle. Is money your god? The thing is Lars, many people in the tourism think we are too critical of Phuket's problems. A lot of others think we are too soft. Chances are we've got it about right. But being fair doesn't seem to be a concern for you. Enjoy the Caribbean.


I have never seen so many reply comments from Editor before. You are taking this to personal. I thought objective reporting was your style.

I do question 2 things. Are you saying that the jelly fish I have seen wash up on the beaches are not deadly? Even if 1 persons body can't handle the toxins. I thought you have reported in the past of some one dying from jelly fish on Phuket. BOX or Not there are Jelly fish which keeps me from swimming there.
Secondly Phuket is not an entire country, it is an Island so when this many bad things happen in a concentrated area there is reason for concern by any group. I can drive around the Island in a day. Same goes for a similar size Hawaiian Island and there is not as much trouble as reported here. Knifing, rapes, robberies and poisonings by people selling party buckets to tourists.
You would no have had to written such a passionate report if the authorities had been being proactive instead of reactive on Phuket. If they want all the funds brought in by a growing tourist economy they have to invest in securing the safety of the people. More Police presence and a better pay for them so they will be less likely to be corrupt. And the 2 tier system for hospitals is poor. The USA never refuses anyone in the hospital in an emergency. The hospital writes off non payment as a loss in taxes.

Posted by John on October 28, 2012 00:53

Editor Comment:

The Aftonbladet article is about Phuket, so I'm not sure what relevance that has to your comparisons with Hawaii. It would take more time than I have, John, to go through it all again. If Hawaii is jellyfish-free and hospitals in the US always treat emergencies, then I have been misinformed.


Of course my swedish friend Teddy is right. My first visit to Patong was a gravel road along the beach, and one bar up what is now Bangla, I suppose. About the same way I saw Pattaya first.
I dont feel threatend when I visit Phuket now, but I feel ripped off, so I have found other nice places to visit in Thailand instead - wont tell you where of course, because I dont want them to turn in to a new Phuket or Pattaya.
The only reason for me coming to Patong is to visit friends who have apartments here. But what I see is the russians taking over, and also the chinese, while the old tourists from Sweden, Australia and other European countries are slowly but surely fading away.
So the picture is changing in Phuket - if it is good or bad for Phuket I dont know. I can only speak for myself, and that is by using my feet.

Posted by Remarkable on October 28, 2012 01:19


Did anyone notice the writer of this crap piece of "journalism" actually blames the victim for her own death, for not giving up her purse. God I hate Eurabians!

Posted by Frank on October 28, 2012 10:37

Editor Comment:

You should read the following before you make ridiculous assertions, first-time Frank:

Then please head back to your usual rumor-pit. Make sure you post it there, too.


Many resorts in Spain went through "growing pains" similar to Phuket, back in the 1980s.

The difference was that the Spanish authorities took things seriously, recognised the shortcomings and took serious action. Infrastructure improved massively (not without a lot of help from EU funds), but also the attitude of the local population was changed.

Visit a Spanish resort today and you will see a highly visible police force, with English and German language skills. Ruthless policing of pedestrian crossings and traffic laws etc. Most of all, tourists feel protected and know the law is on their side too.

Thailand's answer for now seems to be to brush aside and attempt to hide or shift the blame for the growing unpleasant realities of many resorts.

Posted by Barry on October 29, 2012 12:52


The comment about Sweden having the highest number of rapes is interesting.

In Thailand a claimed attempted rape by a group of youths with knives is described as a "misunderstanding".

In Sweden, an accidental brush of a hand on a crowded bus could easily be investigated as "attempted rape".

Posted by barry on October 29, 2012 13:51


Are you serious when you report she was ''stabbed to death by two men on a motorcycle who stole her purse.''
In fact, Michelle Smith refused to let go of her handbag. That's the reason why she was knifed. Have been smoking something? You are mad and shouldn't be in control of any article if that's how you think.

Posted by Dochudson on October 29, 2012 14:57

Editor Comment:

The problem is in your mind, Dochudson/Richo, where you reshape what you are reading into something quite different. Your mind turns quality steak into sawdust and sausage. Back to teakdoor or tv quick, please. You should probably read this first:


Thank you for the reply on the 28th.
I was comparing Hawaii's Crime rate to Phuket per Island size. Hawaii is not jelly fish free. They do not try to hide that fact.

Posted by John on October 30, 2012 00:17


I think it's time you gave back your Walkley award for journalism. You don't deserve it.

Posted by Dochudson on October 30, 2012 05:06

Editor Comment:

In the Internet era, we need a new award for the commenter who continues, despite logic and commonsense, to believe the unbelievable. A reader of The Sun and the Daily Mail in the morning, Aftonbladet in the afternoon. You'd be in with a show.


"In fact, Michelle Smith refused to let go of her handbag. That's the reason why she was knifed."

This is a disgusting and disrespectful comment. You should be ashamed of yourself.

Posted by Toby on November 2, 2012 15:48

Editor Comment:

The only disrespect is in your mind, Toby. I am growing weary of you and the other teakdoor loonies.


Aftonbladet is correct: When someone (Michelle Smith) refuses someone else to take a bag and it is stolen by violence, it is called robbery.
From a legal point of view: theft + violence = robbery. The only thing Aftonbladet missed out when they write "she was stabbed to death by two men on a motorcycle who stole her purse'' was to add to their readers that the bag was stolen by VIOLENCE.
So the facts was even worse than Aftonbladet reported.
I dont get your point here, Ed.

Posted by lawyer on November 3, 2012 04:58

Editor Comment:

The point here, lawyer, is that the bag was not stolen. The pair fled empty-handed. Mrs Smith kept her bag. What Aftonbladet reported was factually incorrect. Since Mrs Smith's murder, violent crimes on Phuket have been reduced, making the place a safer destination, not a scarier one. But good news? Aftonbladet isn't going to write it. Fortunately, most Swedes recognise the truth.


So your point here, Ed, is that the fact the bag was not stolen, only "attempted" stolen because the lady was killed instead, makes Aftonbladet a bad newspaper.
Did I get it right this time ?

Posted by lawyer on November 9, 2012 20:47

Editor Comment:

Perhaps you should read the article in full. I don't intend to respond to your crass inquiry.


No more questions, your honor.

Posted by lawyer on November 13, 2012 00:40

Wednesday July 17, 2024
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