Phuket Newspaper Reports Murder, Then Changes Story. Very Fishy!
THE PHUKET GAZETTE
The Phuket Gazette is the local English language newspaper for Phuket Thailand. The paper was established in 1993 by American John Magee. The Gazette 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.
Headline: : Swedish man dies in luxury condo
I have read many unbelievable stories in the Phuket Gazette, and immediately questioned the events as they have been reported. This is perhaps the most ridiculous story I have ever seen in any newspaper. The story is that a 53 year old Swedish man (Jan Larsson) was discovered dead in his luxury Patong condo, lying face up on his bed. The police established that the cause of death was the loss of blood from several wounds to his back. Now this is starting to sound like a murder case right? Oh but wait, the Phuket police with all their great wisdom and experience with so many extreme circumstances, have determined that the victim must have fell backwards on a bottle of spirits, then sat on his bed and bled to death before he could call for help. They issued a statement saying "the Swede most likely fell onto a bottle of spirits that shattered and caused deep lacerations to his back, he then likely tried to sit up in bed, where he bled to death, he added". Now this is not an isolated incident, this kind of thing happens in Phuket all the time! No I don't mean to say that people always fall on their bottle of booze and bleed to death, I mean to say that people are murdered by the mafia (possibly with police connections) and then it is covered up as an accident or a suicide. The Phuket Gazette seems to co-operate with the cover up by printing the "official story" regardless of how ridiculous it sounds.
Read the story as it appears in the Phuket Gazette ; http://www.phuketgazette.net/archives/articles/2011/article9792.html
QUESTIONS THAT NEED TO BE ASKED
Examining The Wounds? If somebody dies from loss of blood due to injuries caused by broken glass, it would make more sense if the wounds were near a major artery. Do you know where the major artery is on your back? Neither do I.
What Do Other Newspapers Say? Why is it that PhuketWan is reporting that this is a murder case, and saying that there were a trail of bloody footprints all over the apartment? You can read the report online : http://phuketwan.com/tourism/phuket-murder-swede-stabbed-death-patong-13561/. This is not the first case of the Phuket Gazette participating in an apparent cover up, this is actually quite common. Rarely do they bother to follow up on these stories as well.
How Many Murders Are Covered Up? Just this week there is another case of a Thai Lawyer who apparently was involved in high profile real estate battles, helping poor people save their homes from would be real estate tycoons trying to force them off their land. This Lawyer apparently went out to buy groceries, then returned home and decided to hang himself with a bed sheet from a door knob. It seems strange to me that a lawyer, an educated man, can not find a better way to end his own life? Let us not forget that this was a man with many enemies that had plenty of motive to make him disappear. It seems in Phuket strange suicides and improbable accidents are the norm.
Was There CCTV? Patong Beach is full of surveillance cameras on most of the main streets and entrances to hotels, there may be clues on CCTV.
UPDATE JAN 27, 2011: Phuketwan Prints Apology: http://phuketwan.com/tourism/patong-murder-error-judgement-13596/
It is not surprising that Phuketwan was forced to change their story, as the official police position is that this was an accident. However the update in Phuketwan says that the original story was printed based on viewing photos of the apartment and jumping to conclusions. They fail to explain the quotes of police statements :
"Officers found money in the pocket of the man's shorts, on the floor. Police believe that more than one person may have been involved in a party that went wrong."
"A SWEDISH man has been savagely knifed to death in the western beach resort town of Patong, Phuket police said tonight. Police are hunting his killer or killers."
"Police said there were many footprints in the room and in the corridoor outside."
"Officers said the staff at the condominium block found the man lying on his side on a bed, with two deep stab wounds to the left side of his back"
That is a lot of apparent police statements left unexplained? Did Phuketwan reporters simply make these statements up? Or did a police officer actually make these statements? When we asked the editor of Phuketwan to explain, he offered this comment:
"Sorry, I'm not going to respond to armchair forensics experts on this one. That would be inappropriate. We've explained what is believed to have transpired. Photographs show the man had two deep wounds to his back, no doubts about that. Initially, the case had all the appearances of a murder. Authorities are now persuaded it was a bizarre case of misadventure."
The Phuket Gazette continues it's practices of irresponsible journalism, printing stories without interviewing witnesses, or questioning the story provided by the police. We can understand that freedom of the press is perhaps not what it is in western countries, however other newspapers seem to be able to print more responsible content. We must wonder what motivates the Phuket Gazette, is it simply that they want Phuket to be perceived as a safe destination for tourists? Or is there a more sinister reason behind it, perhaps they are working with the corrupt officials and mafia? The thing that is the most concerning is, the murders may continue as long as they continue to be reported as accidents or suicide. Media pressure could have a positive effect on the police, and the criminals. It is time that people speak out against this brand of corruption that the Phuket Gazette is a part of.
WRITE A LETTER TO THE EDITOR OF THE PHUKET GAZETTE : http://www.phuketgazette.net/contactus/index.asp