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Swimmers at Phuket's popular Nai Harn, where the Tattoo Man was found

Tattoo Man and the Riddle of Nai Harn Beach

Thursday, July 23, 2009
MORE than two months after he washed ashore on Phuket's Nai Harn beach, the Tattoo Man remains a nameless riddle.

It was thought that his prominent markings would lead to a rapid identification. That has not proven to be the case.

His death is a classic mystery. All he was wearing were a pair of striking red y-front underpants.

The brand,, is well known in Thailand.

The man had been dead for about a week, police thought.

Did he drown? Was he killed? Did he fall from a passing ship?

Nobody can say. And his lips are permanently sealed.

The Tattoo Man's body is now with forensic police in Bangkok as they perform an autopsy and try to learn enough about the man to give him a name.

They can certainly take samples of DNA, but without a relative or some person with whom to compare results, that has little bearing on this mystery.

Perhaps, if the distinguishing marks on his body fail to job recognition, his teeth may eventually be recognised . . . if he comes from a country where dental records are kept, and checked for such tragic events.

The size of the body indicates he is an expat, an expat in Thai brand underpants.

No rings, no watch.

There have been no reports of someone of his background and size missing. That's a possible indication of foul play.

And yet there are many lonely expats on the island.

Many are the tales of those who have died in isolation and not been missed for days.

Others die, and are unwanted.

There is a man from Nepal, a victim of the 2004 tsunami, who was among the nameless victims of the big wave.

Identified in 2006, his body lies in a cooled container in Phang Nga, awaiting collection. His family and his government know he is there.

For reasons unknown, although probably financial, he has been waiting for collection for a long time now.

There are Burmese victims and Thai victims, too, whose families have chosen not to collect them.

Not every victim of the tsunami was sadly missed, or grieved for by a loving family.

For the Tattoo Man, the wait goes on. The word must be getting out, slowly.

Colonel Boonlerk On-klang, of Chalong police, has written to a long list of embassies, spelling out the mystery.

The body was found about 6am, a lovely time to be at Nai Harn Beach, on May 21.

One of the early-morning walkers probably spotted him, bobbing at the water's edge.

Letters went out in early June. In the return mail, nothing.
In the letters were details of his tattoos, distinguishable still after seven days or more in the sea.

The left shoulder bore a tattoo of a dragon and on the right, a dolphin. The back of the man's left hand carried a tattoo of a tiger.

While many people these days have tattoos, people with several usually have them in different places and to different styles.

If any of this lights a memory, please call Colonel Boonlert on 081 9795644.

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Comments have been disabled for this article.


Who is teaching Thais to start every sentence as a new paragraph?

Damn annoying!

Posted by English Teacher on August 5, 2009 08:30


Is it possible to post a picture of the man to circulate it ? Somebody must know the chap ?

Editor: Unfortunately the only images we have of the man are not publishable. As you say, though, somebody must know the chap.

Posted by Mouse on August 5, 2009 09:11

Sunday August 1, 2021
Horizon Karon Beach Resort & Spa


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