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Laleena Guesthouse owner Rat Chuped: something they ate or drank

Phuket Police Lead Laleena Forensics Probe

Monday, May 25, 2009
A SPECIAL forensics task force of 15 police, led by a senior officer from Phuket, was involved in taking fresh samples from the Laleena Guesthouse on Phi Phi over the weekend.

Early in May American Jill St Onge, 27, and Norwegian Julie Bergheim, 22, fell ill while occupying adjoining ground-floor rooms 4 and 5 at the guesthouse, suffered similar vomiting attacks, and died within hours of each other at the holiday island's hospital.

Police General Nappadon Kantakanit told Phuketwan today that he assembled the latest investigation team, which included specialists from Phuket and Krabi provinces.

The return to the guesthouse for a complete forensics check came at the request of senior Royal Thai Police in Bangkok.

It is believed officials from the US and Norwegian embassies have been pressing for a resolution of the cause of death of the two young tourists as soon as possible.

''We checked the locality and the rooms where the women fell ill,'' General Nappadon said. ''We took away various spray cleaners and a vacuum cleaner, and the air-conditioning filters.''

Today he called Prince of Songkla University in Haad Yai, capital of Songkla province, and arranged for laboratories there to conduct tests on all the samples from the guesthouse.

The Governor of Krabi, Siwa Sirisaowalak, said he was not aware of the new police investigation. He has previously urged newspapers not to speculate about the cause of death, and to await the results of existing tests.

Police Lieutentant Pontanan Sangtong, who is based on Phi Phi, remains in charge of overall investigations.

At different times since the women died in early May, Public Health department officials, including epidemiologists from Bangkok, have also taken samples in and around the Laleena Guesthouse and checked the two rooms.

Bangkok laboratory tests continue on blood and tissue samples taken from the women's bodies. Samples were also taken for testing commissioned by the St Onge family in the US.

Laleena Guesthouse owner Rat Chuped believes the women died from something they ate or drank and has rejected suggestions that she should close the establishment until the cause is known.

Jill St Onge was travelling with her fiance, Ryan Kells, at the time, while Ms Bergheim was sharing her room with a younger Norwegian woman.

All four occupants of rooms 4 and 5 fell ill, but only two survived.

According to General Nappadon, the Norwegian survivor has told police of a ''bad smell'' at the time all four occupants of the rooms fell sick.

The water treatment plant nearby appeared to not be the source, he said, because other houses and guesthouses were closer to it than the victims at Laleena.

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Comments

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So until the respective Embassies pressed for conclusions, nothing was done and now, 3 weeks later samples are taken? What a tragic joke! I think I'll start a private Ex-Pat coroner service, with all the deceased western foreigners piling up. Nine since April 1 in Phuket/ Krabi region) I'll make a mint!

Posted by Ex- Pat Coroner on May 26, 2009 08:10

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"Ground floor" rooms sealed with AC, "sewage odour." Pssst.. Thai police, look at the sewage system..

Posted by Steve Green on May 26, 2009 08:23

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Hey ex-Pat Coroner I will gladly join your team, just let me know when you want to start. It's more than tragic, it's a vile reality here.

Posted by Mouse on May 26, 2009 11:37

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Nice to see the guys in Brown are as efficient as ever (NOT). Let's be honest, if the respective embassies had not pressed hard then the attitude would have been 'let's look the other way and hope it goes away'.

Posted by Noddy on May 26, 2009 14:49

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More than tragic:
'The water treatment plant nearby appeared to not be the source, he said, because other houses and guesthouses were closer to it than the victims at Laleena.'
But the wind has its own way...
As Steve Green already wrote the ground floor rooms were sealed with AC. Any gas nearby might be sucked into the rooms. - You love Google? 'Africa, Lake, deadly gas.'

Posted by Wolfmuc on May 26, 2009 21:34

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i use to have an office (airconditioned) where the sewage oudoors would emit. It was from the restroom, also in my office, it was a small space less than 20 Sq mtr. so it really smelled. It came to a point i had to open the office door and anyone passing would almost vomit of the smell.
naturally the administration forced it was something else on my roof (dead rat)
but i knew better. It was so bad, it could give you a headache, so bad you could faint if you stayed longer. I would shut off the aircon because the more it was open the more the air inside was like - getting more thicker and drowsy to you.
Shame on this islands attitude.
@ Noddy > if the respective embassies had not pressed hard then the attitude would have been 'let's look the other way and hope it goes away'. < I agree

Posted by AsianLady on June 8, 2009 02:51


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