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Swede Rickard Morgan Tigerholm (right) and Nawaphan Kongphumiphon

Swedish Tourist Accused After Phuket Police Sting

Tuesday, November 2, 2010
A SWEDISH tourist has been accused by Phuket police of selling methamphetamine ya ice from his room at a Patong resort that only opened two weeks ago.

The man, Rickard Morgan Tigerholm, 41, was arrested after Patong police carried out a ''sting'' operation early yesterday.

Following a tip-off from a source, a police officer posing as a drugs buyer handed over 4000 baht to Thai bar girl Nawaphan Kongphumiphon, 36, in Nanai Road, about 1.20am.

Khun Nawaphan was interviewed for an hour at Kathu Police Station, and she was asked where she had obtained the 3.5 grams of the illegal drug. She named Mr Tigerholm, and said he operated from Room 305 at the newly-opened Blue Ocean Resort.

Kathu police station's Lieutenant Akanit Danpitak said that police went to the room of the ''Swedish tourist'' at the resort and in a search, found 1.5 grams of ya ice.

Mr Tigerholm was arrested and was due to appear in court later today. Police said that Mr Tigerholm had been on Phuket for two weeks.


Comments have been disabled for this article.


what would possess anyone to sell drugs in Thailand? Happy holidays.

Posted by Lord Jim on November 2, 2010 14:12


perhaps a bit insensitive to assume she is a bar girl and have her full name and photo there.

Posted by Vfaye on November 2, 2010 14:24

Editor Comment:

Nothing wrong with being a bar girl, as she told police, unless readers are judgemental . . . and most are too worldly and wise for that. Doing drugs is another matter entirely.


Destroy your life and loose your freedom all for 4000 baht....
I just don't get it. WHY take such a risk...

Posted by Jimmy Rawai on November 2, 2010 14:25


I don't see how doing illegal drugs is worse somehow than illegal prostitution - which is what "bar girls" do. Suggesting it is judgemental.

Posted by Media Watcher on November 2, 2010 16:41

Editor Comment:

Drugs or sex? Which is more evil? Media Watcher, you need help.


What on earth is this guy thinking?...I just don't get it. I'm sure we all had our crazy days in life when we pushed the limits and did stupid things...sometimes getting away with stuff and sometimes not...But if you come to a foreign land knowing you're doing something illegal...You better have a pretty good idea about what your dabbling in and what the consequences will be if caught....some people think they are bigger than the system...What a waste!

Posted by sky on November 2, 2010 17:05


VFaye if it walks like a duck and looks like a duck it's normally - a duck! As the Ed says there's nothing wrong with being a bargirl - I just wonder if anyone has her number.

Posted by Mister Ree on November 2, 2010 17:15


Being here for two weeks and becoming the drug overlord? And what they find? 1.5 gram, less then half what she sold in only ONE case. If it was a duck, (hotel room, two weeks, 1,5 gram) I would say, not much of a kingpin, more a users quantity. These facts ring funny to me. Framing comes to mind.

So guys, he is accused of selling. But finding a little ice worth less then 2000 baht does not make you a dealer, I guess. Sounds more like having too much fun with the wrong bar girl.

Posted by Lena on November 2, 2010 23:49


Don't be so quick to assume guilt. What this story boils down to is bargirl gets caught with drugs and does a deal to give the police a westerner in exchange for her own freedom. This happens all the time.

Posted by CaptainJack on November 3, 2010 12:15


Actually Phuket Wan, a new report just out states use of alcohol is more detrimental than drugs.
And as prostitution is illegal. ( Not that it should be, either, IMO ) you are the one being judgemental re which is the worse crime.
"'Nothing wrong with being a bar girl,' as she told police, unless readers are judgemental . . . and most are too worldly and wise for that. Doing drugs is another matter entirely."

Posted by Media W.. on November 3, 2010 13:38

Editor Comment:

That's a comment by the editor, Mediawatch, as distinct from the objective news report. You always seem to confuse the two, and you inevitably prefer to deal with personalities rather than principles.

You are also always quick to point out what's a crime under Thai law - unless it fails to suit you, in which case you will highlight the Western approach.

Prostitution is hardly considered a crime anywhere these days, except in deeply religious nations. However, doing drugs, whether legal or illegal, is frowned upon just about universally.

What a person does for a living is never a good guide to their character. People who assume it is are snobs.


Appears to simply be someone having "fun" in Thailand. Party's over!

The "moral" is simply to keep your nose clean.

Posted by Anonymous on November 3, 2010 16:48


Is there no chance he's being accused of something he has not done? Maybe he was rude to her or something and therefore she decided to revenge by putting drugs in his room and tipping the police?

I believe there are many innocent victims being falsely convicted of crimes they never did. I don't believe many would take the risk many seems to do namely..

Posted by Anonymous on November 4, 2010 21:57

Editor Comment:

So you think all Swedish tourists are pure and perfect, and all bar girls and police are bad? Give us a break, Anonymous.

Cast off your prejudices. Anonymous comments that make those kinds of claims in ignorance have no worth.

If you have no evidence and you are not even prepared to put a name to your comment, please spare us your guesswork and your warped values.


I am sure I will regret the pointing out of what seems obvious but ... this story and the police's conclusion stretches credulity. A man who has been on the island less than two weeks sets himself up as a drug dealer. Questions would include if he has only been here two weeks how was he able to source a supplier so quickly? How was he obtaining customers? What did he have to sell if he only had such a small amount and had only been here such a short time? It is not impossible but it seems pretty unlikely that someone new to the area would be a seller and certainly even more strange that he would sell to someone he did not know given the probability if caught that they would roll over on him. It would seem more logical that the local resident, with more contacts and a greater amount on hand would be the seller and he was a buyer. Foolish perhaps but in a business were advertising is difficult one would think you would need time to develop resources and customers.

Further questions would include: What was his relationship with the woman who was actually caught red-handed selling the drugs and with a larger amount in her possession? How long had he known her? What was she charged with? How long has she been here? I am not drawing conclusions as to guilt or innocence, just asking questions in an attempt to get more information. Whether he is guilty or not it's Warren Zevon time for this guy, "send lawyers, guns and money. Dad get me out of this."

Posted by Warren on November 6, 2010 21:23

Editor Comment:

You appear to be assuming that the Thai woman is guilty (''caught red-handed''), but content to give the tourist the benefit of the doubt. For all you know, he could be a frequent visitor. Both are innocent until proven guilty. Best not to jump to conclusions: the courts don't speculate.


Is it not possible when a seller (bar girl) get caught by police "red-handed", rather name an unknown "innocent" tourist buyer as if he were the seller, instead of her real supplier, who probably a big shot mafia ?
Maybe the swede had just bought some ya ice from her, and she name him, make the police happy to have their arrest and their picture taken in you little gossip paper ?

Posted by joy on November 6, 2010 23:33

Editor Comment:

There you go, Joy, proving that prejudice is alive and living in the hearts of those who find it difficult to believe people like them could possibly be criminals. It has to be somebody else. They are always ''innocent.''


To editor,
I have 20 years of experience working with criminals and tracing the truth. I have at different times in my life worked on all sides of the bar as police, judge and a lawyer. You must be pretty naive if you think this girl cough red-handed, will disclose to the police who her boss is .. especially since this business usually are run by hard core mafia ! This is basic.
It is of course easier to go to put the blame on a foreign customer who she knows is in the possession of drugs because he just bought from her. Is it probable that a guy possessing 1,5 gram, less than half of her possession, who arrived in Thailand 2 weeks ago, is a supplier ? Come on, be sensible ! It is not likely.
The swede is of course not innocent. He did a illegal bargain. But, if my assumption is correct, he did not harm anyone else than himself. What you did by putting his name and picture in the newspaper for everyone to read, is the real serious thing here. You are the instrument of incompetent police who just want to have the credit of catching a farang, guilty or not. The swede will forever have his name on the internet as a drug criminal, because of maybe a minor mistake while on holiday. I think you should consider which news you put in the paper. Rule no 1: Never put the name and picture of anyone who is just accused, and especially when it seems quite obvious that he is a part of a set up operation !

Posted by joy on November 7, 2010 17:50

Editor Comment:

So you have 20 years' experience with the law . . . and yet you are boastfully jumping to assumptions. Joy, you are a pretender. We prefer to stick to the facts, and report what we are told by those involved. Guesswork is not the mark of professionals. We'll stick with Thai law, not Joy's law, thanks all the same. It's certainly true, though, that anyone who thinks about illegal drugs in Thailand runs the risk of shame and disgrace, as well as a jail term. This is not some kids' game, Joy.


I can say one thing !

(moderated: you can say it but we can't publish it, because we have no evidence that it's true. Sorry. If you believe there has been a miscarriage of justice, let your honorary consul or your embassy know. Send a copy of your report to the Governor and the Police Commander.)

Posted by Peter on November 7, 2010 21:44


To Editor.
You are putting a guy on the front page with full name and picture based on accusations from a thai bar girl caught red-handed selling drugs ... and some police officers keen to have their picture in the paper !
Dont you see what a lousy form of journalism this is ?
Dont you put any judgement on the "facts" before you are presenting it in your paper ? Obviously not.
I am not jumping on assumptions, I just tell you out of my 20 years of experience, which you can not take away from me, that there is another, more possible, side to the story you are presenting.
You should be fair to admit.
In the civilized world you would no doubt have been sentenced for defamation for such a lousy journalism. (Defamation also called slander, character assassination, scandalmongering, malicious gossip, muckraking, smear).
If there is no fair reason for you to publish his name, even if the story were true, you would be sentence for defamation. In this case, you are probably referring as facts a story you have to be VERY naive to believe in.
I wish I had you in court. You would have been crushed !

Posted by joy on November 7, 2010 23:27

Editor Comment:

As we are in Thailand, we follow the Thai system of justice. There is one law for all. You may complain about ''tourists'' being called to account as much as you like: the law is unlikely to change. And in most countries, unless there is a question of identity, there is no problem publishing the name of any person who has been arrested, and the charge, and a photograph.

We accept the principle of any charged person being innocent until they are convicted - which doesn't mean we need to make the process of justice a secret one.

With your opinions so consciously pre-formed before all the facts are heard in a court, your legal activities must have been based on hearsay, not evidence. And I should tell you that you have a tendency to rely on gratuitous put-downs rather than well-argued debate. Wherever you gained your experience, it clearly wasn't Thailand. To try to impose your own personal standards (they surely don't represent the standards of any ''civilised'' country) on Thailand's system would not only be foolish, but not in the best interests of justice.


The Swede has been in Thailand - Bangkok /Phuket for over three years, and has owned a bar in Patong.

I want to know - what happened in the court hearing.

Posted by Sgt pepper on November 8, 2010 09:02


@editor, both are illegal. You should stop getting into word spats with your readers, you should also change your title to "blogger" as you are not an "editor" in the true since of the word

Posted by chris on November 10, 2010 09:42

Editor Comment:

You have a traditional view of editors, a false one. They all have opinions. They always have. Most of them act on their opinions - they simply hide their actions from the public. As an editor, I have every right to ensure the articles on this site are professionally compiled in a balanced fashion - and to express my opinion in the comment section, just as readers express theirs.

''@editor, both are illegal'' Sorry, I don't follow your meaning.


2 days ago I replied to you accusations about "my personal standards not being that of a civilized country". It is quite unusual and "judgemental" to say that about the countries I have been trained, namely in Scandinavia and the US. Why did you not add my comments in you post ?

Posted by Joy on November 10, 2010 11:47

Editor Comment:

Everything we have been sent by you has been posted.

What I am saying is that judges and lawyers in most countries show professional restraint and do not speculate about the justice of individual cases before they are heard by an independent authority. I have next to no interest in where you were'' trained.''



Editor: I am sorry but I find your retorts to be somewhat outside the considered bounds of an editor and more indeed more in keeping with a blogger. Yes times and technology have changed BUT the integrity of news reporting should never be compromised. Sorry if my opinion angers you I am just calling it the way I see it.

By attacking every VALID point 'Joy' makes you are IMO compromising your credibility as an editor.

Posted by WTF on November 10, 2010 13:32

Editor Comment:

WTF, You and Joy have no credibility on the justice of this particular case because supposition is not part of the legal process. Best not to speculate.

Your opinion is unlikely to ever anger me because you always miss the point, and often by a wide margin.


Good luck with your blog sir my apologies for having an opinion and not being a lap dog.

Posted by WTF on November 10, 2010 20:45


my comments that you refused to publish was sent to you Monday Nov. 8th at noon. It was confirmed received by you with a "Thank you" and I was informed it would be published after "moderating". Please check again, as I, and obviously also WTF, are not happy the way you attack people with other points of view. And a possibly censorship should earn you the front page of your own publication. Phuketwan is an interesting publication, but you really destroys it all by your comments. My legal training does not (you say) interest you, but since you indicate I have no credibility to you or compared to the Phuket police, it may interest others that I have been trained 5 years as a Judge and a High court Judge in Scandinavia and as a Wall Street lawyer in NYC. I have also been a prosecutor and running my own law firm.
To say my opinion has no credibility is quite hash and judgemental. To say it the least.
I feel I am entitled to have opinion about how the police in Phuket do their investigations.
But if you want to one-sided to refer the Phuket police findings and dont want other opinions, thats up to you. But for myself kind of lose interest in you and your Phuketwan. Human rights for (possibly unrightfully) accused foreigners in Thailand is obviously not on your agenda.

Posted by joy on November 10, 2010 20:50

Editor Comment:

We keep copies of all comments and sadly there is no record of one from you on November 8. The system doesn't allow us to trash material entirely. Perhaps your comment fell victim to a momentary Internet glitch.

We report what people in authority say about arrests, and what those who are arrested say, if they so desire. Commentary based on guesswork, without actual knowledge of the individual circumstances of the case, cuts against the best interests of justice being achieved. If you have some evidence that a human rights breach has been committed, please let us know. There are plenty of genuine human rights breaches for a skilled legal eagle like you to pursue: no need to make them up.


I dont believe my comments disappeared in an internet glitch. Your computer "thanked" me instantly by receipt. So if anything, your computer must have crashed for a second thereafter, which I do not find very likely.
Back to the issue. (moderated)

Posted by joy on November 11, 2010 01:30

Editor Comment:

Joy, So you think I am a Killjoy? That just proves how easily you make assumptions and reject the truth. And having accused me of somehow interfering with your ''human rights'', you wish to continue to discuss a matter in which you have no personal experience, and therefore nothing of consequence to add.

You seem to totally confuse ''human rights'' with standard practice in the legal system. Sorry, but there are plenty of truly deserving cases involving real human rights breaches where someone with your great experience could actually do some good, rather than making claims about any individual case that cannot be substantiated.

Besides, readers are capable of putting 2 and 2 together and moving from A to B perfectly well by themselves. If you wish to help this young man, do so. Stop pretending.


Editor: You ask me a legal question. I answer, and you refuse to print it. This just after pretending you lost my previous submission ! I find it all very strange, and do draw my conclusions. On top of it, you are accusing me of being "completely confused". 20 years of legal experience is in your world the same as (quote) "no experience".
We both agree that readers are capable of making their own opinion. So thanks WTF, chris etc for your support.
No more comments from my side.

Posted by joy on November 11, 2010 18:00

Editor Comment:

Your previous submission wasn't lost. It was never sent. So I know the truth, and do not require you to guess or infer that you know something I don't. The process of justice is never likely to be improved by supposition and cant. Thank you for your interest.


I like this, almost every comment has editor's attention and explaining the s.....d reader the way he should to think.

Posted by mogzy on November 12, 2010 08:55


To Editor.

I have been following your commenting in this case, and I really don't understand what happened with you.

In one moment you say that you are just referring the facts of the case, quoting the police, being neutral. The next moment you are on a crusade, with personal, biased and hot-headed messages attacking your own readers who question the validity of a case you are covering in Phuket Wan.

Having lived here for many years, I have yet to find anyone who believe in the police and the justice system with such force as you do. "Everybody" know the system's broken and I don't understand why you get pumped up when your readers suggest that this case "stinks" a little, that maybe this is a "scape goat" scenario, etc. etc. (moderated)

So why so hotheaded, mr. Editor?

Nobody said this Swedish guy is innocent. But, in fair journalistic tradition, it is good to question the information, the source, the motive, the pains and gains. You, as an Editor-in-Chief, are not doing that. Your readers are trying.

Shame on you for being so self-absorbed that you forget what journalism is.

Last: I don't agree with every voice within this forum. But I agree with those who voice concern over your editorial behavior. You should read the whole feed one more time, and try to find out what happened to you AFTER the message posted by Media W.. on Wednesday November 3, 2010 at 13:38. Your blame game is without reason.

Thanks for entering this post.

Posted by Mr. Green on November 13, 2010 15:21

Editor Comment:

I guess on Wednesday November 3, 2010 at 13:38, my brain must have seized up and ceased to function rationally. Sorry, but rereading the thread here is not going to make a scrap of difference to the principles of justice.
If you or any of the other nameless readers who are happy to present themselves as ''experts'' actually had any knowledge of this case beyond rudimentary guesswork, it would be a different matter. For now, I'm content to settle for the facts, Mr Green. You should try it some time.
Fortunately the number of people who are prepared to spout an opinion in ignorance never has a bearing on anything much.


Dear Editor,

It is obvious to me, that this case ring some bells with your readers and maybe a clarification by followup would be a great idea, either to highlight a problem with drug using and getting into even bigger trouble or highlight a problem with expats perceiving the good police work on Phuket. Lately I have to admit, I am pretty impressed by some work of the anti drug stingers, but I am still concerned about how this swede dude could become a dealer out of his hotel room so fast.

So I really would like to get an update on this case. Maybe an interview with the swede, as you and your crew have a good history in doing so? Also appreciate an update on the more facts from the police side of the story. If not possible in this case, please keep in mind maybe for a next one. Thanks.

Posted by Lena on November 13, 2010 19:51

Editor Comment:

We don't usually interview arrested suspects, unless the opportunity arises at the police presentation. Nor are we willing to prejudice the court case either way by carrying comments that speculate about guilt or innocence. And we've had plenty of both.

The point is that the same people who are extremely keen to presume innocence in this particular case are disinclined to extend that same presumption to the justice system. That's what I call prejudice.


You are one of a kind, my dear Editor!

Here is from your answer to my post: "If you or any of the other nameless readers who are happy to present themselves as ''experts'' actually had any knowledge of this case beyond rudimentary guesswork, it would be a different matter."

Where in my post do I state that I am an expert, or that I know anything for sure about this case? Please show me. I thought I wrote about how you do your job? Or not.

So I will repeat myself: Shame on you for being a such a pompous ass, who in your ill perceived view on how "modern editorial work" functions that you forget what journalism is about - testing, digging and revealing the truth. Bloggers are a different breed, no calling, no agenda, only justifications of their own likes and dislikes. A lot like what you are killing time with...

Someone maybe believe that attack is the best defense. Well, go ahead and attack me again or accuse me for whatever you find suited. You didn't really answer my last posting, so I guess you will overlook the real subject this time too.

PS! Most of the comments are about your style. You as the only holder of truth and knowledge of the law? Come on, give us a break!

Posted by Mister Green on November 13, 2010 22:57

Editor Comment:

Mr Green,
You are entitled to your opinion. And I am entitled to mine. We don't conform to conventional ideas about what constitutes the role of journalists or editors. As I've said more than once, all editors throughout the history of newspapers and news have had opinions, and they have almost all act upon them. At Phuketwan, we express the editor's viewpoint in the appropriate way for the 21st century.
We have no difficulty in understanding that Phuketwan articles can remain professionally fair and balanced while the editor can at the same time be outspoken in the Comment section. We don't share your horror at ''blogging,'' as long as the blog is based on sound information and logic.

That said, even in the Comment section, we don't accept guesswork about current legal cases. If you have no expertise and no knowledge of this case, your opinion is obviously guesswork. Even expert guesswork remains . . . guesswork.

On the other hand, if your only aim is to critique our editorial policy, then you are wasting your time and mine. And if anything is preventing us from concentrating on our journalism, it's time-wasting.

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