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EDITORIAL: Phuket is no safe haven for the vulnerable

“Stay home, lock your doors – in fact, avoid Phuket and Thailand altogether if you don’t want to become the victim of the next mugging, rape, suicide or murder.”

Sunday 17 January 2016, 09:06AM


Phuket can be a real 'happy place' but as soon as you forget to apply common sense, it can get ugly as it did for one foreign tourist recently who survived crashing a motorbike into a sign in broad daylight. Luckily for her, she survived, unlike so many others.

Phuket can be a real 'happy place' but as soon as you forget to apply common sense, it can get ugly as it did for one foreign tourist recently who survived crashing a motorbike into a sign in broad daylight. Luckily for her, she survived, unlike so many others.

Such is the message and tone of fear being set by certain agitators as of late, especially in places like the UK, where it seems a large portion of the reported spate of “Thailand tourist victims” tend to be hailing from.

Truth be told, you could swap out “Phuket” from the above message with “Bali”, “Hawaii”, “London”, “Sydney” “Athens”, “Rome”, “New York”, “Paris”, “Tokyo” or pretty much any other popular international destination, and it would carry the same weight – that is if “fear” is to be one’s preferred catalyst for “survival”.

In reporting “hard news” day in, day out, The Phuket News’ aim is not to promote fear but rather to inform readers of the challenges and potential threats, in the hopes that they are able to cope with and mitigate reality, not avoid or run from it.

Though it’d be a fool’s task to argue that violent crime does not exist in Thailand, and Phuket specifically, it would be equally foolish to make the claim that you are safer in any other destination.

Victims of most violent crimes the world over, usually but not always, have one thing in common. That is they are vulnerable, and this vulnerability is subsequently exploited by the darker side of “human nature” – not exclusively “Thai nature” like some tabloids might have you believe.

It seems that many foreign visitors to Phuket all-too-often leave their “common sense” behind at the airport. That is they proceed to behave here in ways that they wouldn’t back in their safe havens abroad.

They let their guard down, naive to think that “it won’t happen to me”.
Indeed, many of the well-publicised victim crimes in Thailand might have been avoided had vulnerability not been a factor.

And while The Phuket News does not advocate putting blame on victims after the fact, we strongly encourage readers to be proactive, realistic and objective when consuming bad news, so as to learn from it in order to not have to become it.

This will ensure that you can enjoy your time here in paradise, safe and sound. However, failing to apply basic “street smarts” – everywhere in the world – could prove detrimental.

Following are some recent letters to the editor:

Some noise from the silent majority

Re: still waiting for Surin beach club clearance

In December you reported that Phuket Vice Governor Chokdee Amornwat declared that the clearance of the Surin beach clubs would happen before January of this year.

At the time, we set aside a bottle of champagne, to be savored at first sight of bulldozers. Sadly, the cork remains un-popped to this day.


The beach “clubs” along the northern half of Surin beach are little more than a public nuisance. The relentless thumping they blast across the entire bay, day and night, may be welcome to their presumably deaf customers, but it’s ruining the experience of Surin beach for everyone else.

By the time this godawful racket has been dampened by the trees and umbrellas opposite their establishments, all that’s left is a dull bass-heavy sound-shadow which extends well beyond the portion of beach occupied by the clubs.

To add insult to injury, it’s widely alleged these so-called “clubs” are illegally occupying the land and spoiling the rest of the beach for all but a handful of musically-challenged patrons.
One can only wonder from which bountiful wells the “club” managers siphon their arrogance.

Beyond the noise-pollution, some ban non-customers from parking motorbikes on the public beach-front road opposite their venue, whilst others operate a door and fee policy more fitting of a Mayfair nightclub than an illegal flip-flop and burgers joint.

We, and no-doubt the wishing-for-silence majority, sincerely hope your esteemed pages will soon report the demise of these cacophonists.
Olaf.

Disappearing trees to make way for more cars

Re: Widening road to Cherng Talay

I was wondering if you were aware of the beautiful tree-alley that is being destroyed on road between Heroines monument and Baan Manik.

I guess the purpose is to enlarge the road, which is nonsense as I pass there many times a day and there’s never a traffic problem there. The problem is at entrance of Cherng Talay or near Heroines monument.

It’s a shame for this alley which is one of the last remaining (that i know of) in Phuket. I believe that it will increase the speed of cars crossing Baan Manik which is already dangerous with double parked vehicles near the 7 Eleven.
Eric

 

 

 

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Joe12 | 07 March 2016 - 16:15:27

Excellent editorial concerning vulnerability, despite the comments from the doomsayers below, who can't seem to focus on the distinction between Thailand and anywhere else in the world and your message to visitors. "...to apply basic “street smarts” – everywhere in the world – could prove detrimental.  

nickcage49 | 31 January 2016 - 17:27:09

Paradise? Hardly. 

Phuket has become an absolute toilet bowl.  No better than Pattaya and in some ways worse.  At least Pattaya is still relatively cheap to visit.  Phuket isn't only expensive, but highly dangerous.

The reason other countries tell people to stay away is because many of their citizens have fallen victim to the many mafia forces and the large amount of teen gangs that now ...

petermach | 19 January 2016 - 11:36:18

what about concrete, this cancer which swallow up a huge quantity of beautiful nature and forest , every year , without taking care about environment. What about noise pollution made by rigged motorbikes.That is also a kind of violence.

Christy Sweet | 18 January 2016 - 08:20:28

I agree with Eric.  That widening was not needed, those trees were  lovely, and now drivers will simply go faster, much faster negating any safety aspects of the widening. Meanwhile the last of those trees are coming down. In 5 years, the island will be completely paved over, and gridlock traffic will be the norm.

Rorii | 17 January 2016 - 15:13:39

There is a problem with this analysis most crime is based around the tourist areas, a small part of Phuket island, no where else, that I have visted, is there so much violence in such a small area, this article seems to compare a small island, with countries. Where else are tourist terrorized, threaten with knives, machetes, guns, and gangs, eg, taxi, tuk tuk and jet ski mafias, and it seems these...

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