A total of 967 people required consular assistance in the period covered by the report, from April 1 last year to March 31 this year.
Of these, 200 contacted local consuls after being arrested, 51 of them on drugs charges. A total of 347 British deaths in Thailand required consular action; 246 involved hospitalisation; five needed help after being raped and three after being sexually assaulted. Details of the remaining 166 cases are not revealed in the report.
Food for thought for British expats in Thailand: of the 347 British deaths in the country in the past year, over 75 per cent were residents. Natural causes was the most frequent cause of death, followed by road traffic accidents.
In absolute terms, Thailand comes fourth in the table of Brits requiring assistance, after Spain, the US and France, but in percentage terms the Land of Smiles wins by a country mile, with one in every 928 Britons visiting or living in Thailand calling for help. The ratio in Spain is 1:2,644, in the US it is 1:3,798 and in France it is 1:15,240.
The British Ambassador to Thailand, Asif Ahmad, commenting on the report, said, “847,000 British tourists visited Thailand in 2010 and over 50,000 British people are residents or spend much of the year here.
“Generally Thailand is a safe place to visit, but there are some risks, as the report shows. Taking some simple steps to prevent problems can help ensure your stay in Thailand is trouble free and enjoyable.
“I’d encourage those thinking about visiting Thailand to have adequate travel insurance; check our travel advice; ensure your passport is valid and know when your visa expires; and bring enough money to enjoy your stay and make sure you have access to emergency funds in case something goes wrong.
“British nationals resident in Thailand face a variety of other issues. My consular team is working on a project to help us better understand the issues affecting retired British nationals living in Thailand so we can help signpost them to help available locally.”
The full report is online here. British nationals needing advice about a difficult situation are asked first to check the website here. If they can’t find the information they need there they should telephone the British Embassy on 02 305 8333 or, in Phuket, contact honorary consul Martin Carpenter by email or by calling 08 5489 0106.