Phuket Gazette Reports: Chalong Police Hunt For Burmese Baby Killer In Phuket, Thailand
THE PHUKET GAZETTE
The Phuket Gazette is the local English language newspaper for Phuket Thailand. The paper is partially owned by and has a partnership agreement with The Nation, another large English Newspaper in Thailand. The Phuket Gazette is the main source of news and information for residents of the Island of Phuket. They have a TV station, online classifieds, yellow pages and they offer a wide variety of advertising options for local businesses.
The Phuket Gazette has a reputation for reporting non factual information and misrepresenting the facts. It seems as though they do not make any attempt to verify information before they go to print, often resulting in stories being printed with a reckless lack of integrity and no regard for the truth. Below is an example of a news report in the Phuket Gazette that contains errors, misleading information and details of events that are not correct and may not have happened at all.
A friend consoles Mrs Palida on the loss of her son, thought to have been murdered by his Burmese nanny.
HEADLINE: Murder most foul: infanticide in Phuket, Sunday, January 17, 2010
When I read this story for the first time, I was immediately sick to my stomach. My first thoughts were that a Burmese Nanny was being accused of murder, yet there was no evidence to suggest that she was responsible. Living in Thailand for over a decade, I know what it is like for Burmese people here, they are treated so poorly, that in the west, it is illegal to treat a dog in such a way. Burmese people seem to be blamed for everything, and they have very little rights. They are forbidden to own a motorcycle or even a mobile phone, they are treated almost like prisoners.
The official story in the Phuket Gazette tells a tale of a young Thai woman with a newborn baby, she owns a tour and travel shop in Rawaii (about 2km from Chalong). She employed a 32 year old Burmese woman as a live in nanny, because she was very busy at work. So busy in fact that she would often not return home for several days, even though her home was just a 5 minute drive from where she worked. The father of the child is not mentioned in any of the Phuket Gazette's reports, and it seems unclear if he was still with the mother. Apparently the Thai woman returned home one evening, noticed the bedroom door of her newborn baby's room was shut, so she assumed everything was fine and she went to sleep without checking on the child. The next day she awoke, she had a shower and got dressed, then decided to check on her child. When she entered the room she discovered the lifeless body of the child and the nanny was nowhere to be found.
The Chalong police immediately released a statement that they had determined that the nanny must have suffocated the child, this is apparently determined prior to a forensic examination. It was later reported that the mother would not allow an autopsy, and the medical examination was unable to determine a cause of death. The police raided work camps with Burmese immigrants looking for the nanny, but she was never found. There were no eye-witness accounts from neighbors or people who lived nearby that may have some knowledge about the nanny or the mother.
Read the story as it appears in the Phuket Gazette ; http://www.phuketgazette.net/archives/articles/2010/article8253.html
QUESTIONS THAT NEED TO BE ASKED
Why was the mother never home?: She is said to own a tour shop in Rawaii, this is just down the street from where she lived in Chalong. A mother with a newborn child should be sleeping at home with her child, the tour shop can not operate any later than 9-10PM, and her home was just 5 minutes away?
Where was the father?: It seems to be a reasonable question to ask, was he still around? Was he at all involved with the mother?
What did the neighbors say?: It would be interesting to hear what the neighbors would have to say about the mother and what they noticed about her lifestyle, how often she was home, how much interest did she appear to have in her child. Likewise, what did they know about the nanny, did they see here in the hours before she apparently fled? I know if it was my newspaper, I would not put the story to print until I had a statement from at least one of the neighbors.
The police investigation: The Chalong police station has a reputation for being one of the most corrupt in Thailand, I question their motive to uncover any details and get to the bottom of the facts. Having a ready made Burmese scapegoat is the ideal situation for a corrupt police officer. There would be little motivation for them to pass the blame from a Burmese to a Thai. It would seem that everyone in the community would rather read about a Burmese killer than a Thai killer.
This article was published exactly 1 year to the day that the original story was printed in the Phuket Gazette. The story is still online in the Phuket Gazette archives. If you read the story today you will see a battle of words in the comment box below the story. Myself and a poster going by the name "Sherlock Holmes" were attempting to be the voice of reason. We were ridiculed by a fellow by the name of "Randy Hodge". Hodge was insisting that any talk that the nanny might be innocent was disrespectful and should not be tolerated. Apparently the editor of the Phuket Gazette agreed with Mr. Hodge, and he began to block my responses refusing to publish them, even worse than that, he edited my words and changed them to his own, then published the comments as if I had written them. Some of the comments shown were actually not written by me, they are the words of the Phuket Gazette editor himself. The final twist of this story is that I saw a brief report in the local Thai media that stated the mother had confessed to the killing. I commented below the story, and the editor of the paper offered no response, the newspaper did not do any followup on the story.