Tuesday, 1st January 2013
THAILAND A DEADLY TOURIST DESTINATION – It has just been reported that Stephen David Ashton, 23 years of age, a British tourist, was shot to death on Koh Phangan in Surat Thani, Thailand, after a quarrel with Thai youngsters.
For many foreigners living in Thailand this is type of incident is sadly not unusual. The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) continuously engages in press releases, painting a rosy picture of tourism figures and how the ‘Land of Smiles’ is a safe and friendly tourist destination. Unfortunately, for many unsuspecting tourists, these pictures hide the ugly truth that Thailand has one of the world’s highest violent gun crime rates.
Many people would wrongly assume, due to the news reports of killings, that the United States hold the top spot for violent gun crime where in fact the nation with this unwanted accolade goes to South Africa with a reported 31,918 violent gun crimes in 2012.
Next spot is taken up with Columbia with 21,898 and then in third place comes Thailand. Yes, Thailand holds the world’s third place with a reported 20,032 cases of violent gun crime.
The United States of America take fourth place with under 10,000, but what you have to put into context is that the US has a population of just under 313 million people while Thailand has just under 66 million. Therefore the US has a population of nearly 5 times of that of Thailand and yet Thailand’s violent gun crimes are over double that of the United States.
As I pointed out earlier, Stephen’s killing is nothing unusual in Thailand and many tourists fall foul in believing that Thais are nice people, where the real and ugly truth is that Thais are driven by greed, through dishonesty, corruption and murder.
As for the Royal Thai Police, don’t expect any justice from these people. It is widely known that Thai Police are corrupt and also responsible for many murders in Thailand. Only recently Meebal.com published an article on how Thai Police tried to extort nearly $30,000 from a young man after his girlfriend was killed by a reckless Thai driver – basically the Thai Police tried to pin the blame on him and if it wasn’t for the clear CCTV footage it is likely he would have had to pay to be released – here’s the full story - Thai Police Try to Extort Cash from Tragedy Victim
The Thais appear to have no sense of morality or feelings of guilt over taking the life of another. With Thais it’s often about saving face and it’s certainly not unusual to hear of Thais killing their Thai friends over the most trivial of arguments. It wasn’t that long ago that a Phuket Policeman was charged for the murder of his best friend – apparently they were out drinking, an argument pursued and the off-duty police officer, still carrying his gun, took it out and shot is the best friend at point blank range. The outcome of this incident is that it was quickly swept under the carpet and to this day the police officer involved has never even seen the inside of a courtroom.
Thailand is getting worse as a tourist destination, in terms of violent crimes against foreign tourists. It was only a few months ago that Michelle Smith was attacked by two Thai men for less that $10 and in the process of the struggle to take her bag, she was stabbed and later died in hospital.
The situation, of the types of crimes, from muggings, murder, rape, burglaries is certainly on the increase and this is generally due to the lack of money. Thais see all foreigners as being rich and easy pickings. As tourism declines in Thailand, and it is declining regardless of how many rosy press releases the TAT produce weekly, the level of crime and the violence with it is surging. With the tourist dollar decreasing at a rapid rate the Thais, mostly unskilled workers, working in the tourism industry, quickly turn to crime in order to support themselves.
It is a vicious circle and one that the Thai Government are losing in spectacular fashion. With a country that is so divided by class most poor Thais, especially the young, are turning to drugs and crime in order to feed their habit in order to forget their lot in life.
If you ever decide to visit Thailand, and it is not recommended, then be very careful of whom you speak to a slight disagreement or altercation could end up costing you your life.