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Trouble In Paradise? Suicide And Accidental Death Reach Epidemic Proportion On The Island Of Phuket!

Updated on April 27, 2012

Phuket on Thailand's South coast is a tropical island paradise, a romantic holiday destination with beautiful sandy beaches full of tourists that have come to escape the dreary winter months of Europe and North America. The locals have a reputation for their hospitality, and their charming Thai smiles, making tourists feel welcome and keeping them coming back year after year. Most tourists don't realize that there are an alarming number of unexplained deaths, and questionable suicides.

I was reading the local paper this morning, and I saw another story reported as a suicide, yet the circumstances seem to indicate that something more sinister is far more likely. This is nothing new, stories like this appear in the Phuket papers as often as weekly, with so many bizarre suicides reported in Phuket, it seems impossible to write them off as simply coincidence. Earlier this week, a prominent local media mogul was gunned down in the streets of Phuket Town, in an obvious assassination. Now it is being reported that the deceased journalist Wisut ''Ae'' Tangwittayaporn, first raised questions about the ownership of the Freedom Beach land, printing a story in his online newspaper. Today's report also suggests that a security guard who was questioned by investigators, and "had intimate knowledge of a controversial property at Phuket's Freedom Beach", has committed suicide just the day after the assassination of Khun Ae.

Now the official story is that the security guard felt pressured and depressed, and chose to end his own life, however his involvement in such a high profile land dispute has many people asking questions, and pointing fingers. The local law enforcement has a reputation for corruption, and it is believed that murders are often covered up, written off as suicides or accidental deaths. If you go back through the archives of the local newspapers, and read the reports of suicides and accidental deaths, the numbers are staggering.


UPDATE - Feb 12 - The body found on January 26, has been identified as missing South African tourist Mark Robson. Despite the fact both Phuketwan and Phuketgazette had earlier reported the incident as a suicide, the Phuketgazette is now reporting that "The Gazette notes that photos taken from the crime scene suggest the possibility of foul play, especially bruises on Mr Robson’s back and the fact that he was found “hanged” in a sitting position." This has people questioning why this information was never provided in the original media reports, which had labelled the case as a probably suicide.

UPDATE - Jan 26 - Just 2 days after this article was published, a foreign man was found hanging from a tree at Freedom Beach. This is the 3rd questionable death with connections to Freedom Beach, after a journalist was killed after reporting about the case, then a security guard who was questioned about the case apparently took his own life the following day. Police statements have already hinted toward this most recent death being labeled as a suicide or accident "the man may have slipped and fell when trying to rig a nylon cord to a tree" Read More >

Jan 18 (2012) - Phuketwan reports that the body of an Italian tourist is found on the side of the road between Kata and Nai Harn. An examination of the body showed severe trauma to the head, yet police at the scene speculated that the victim had a heart attack while driving. The stretch of road where the body was found is well known as a spot where a where assailants have been known to attack unsuspecting riders, robbing and beating their victims. Read more >

Dec 27 - Phuketwan reports that a Kiwi tourist has died after having sex with two prostitutes, the 30 year old man from New Zealand was in Phuket mourning the death of friends who had died in the Tsunami of 2004. There has been a score of reports of tourists being drugged and robbed by local prostitutes in Patong Beach, and the women who would have been the last people to have seen the man alive have not been found. Read more >

Dec 23 - Phuketgazette reports that a body of a South African man was found dead on his sailboat in Chalong Bay, the man was found with a plastic bag on his head. Police at the scene concluded it was suicide. Read More >

Dec 20 - Phuketwan reports the suicide of a 28 year old woman, living in a luxury home, found in the bathroom hanging from a scarf. Very little information was given about a possible motive.

Dec 17 - Phuketwan reports another German man dies of an overdose of sex, causing him to have a heart attack in his hotel room. The police questioned a local bar hostess who spent the night in the man's room, and they are satisfied with her claim that he was alive when she left at 11AM.

July 14 - Phuketgazette reports that American Josh Steven Weitz, was found dead in his apartment, with a plastic bag over his head. Police originally said foul play was not ruled out, but eventually settled on suicide as the most convenient conclusion. Read more >

June 19 - Phuketwan reports that Russian tourist Evgeny Otrubyannikov, 25, was found dead in his cell in police custody, apparently having hanged himself with his T-shirt. He was arrested for a dispute over a motorcycle rental, a minor offense. Read More >

Jan 27 -
Phuketwan reports that a Swedish man has been stabbed to death in his Patong apartment. The Phuketgazette and all other local media publish reports of the official police investigation that claimed the victim fell backwards on a whiskey bottle and died from his injuries. Phuketwan was forced to print an apology and retract their original report, however the editor refused to comment on the statements quoted from police officers at the scene that said "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." Read more >

Jan 16
- Phuketgazette reports that a "Hero" Lawyer hanged himself in his apartment, again from the doorknob (questionable). The lawyer, Khun Supachai Singjan, 54, was involved in land disputes defending poor villagers in land-rights cases – without remuneration. He won many cases, and made many enemies in the process. Read More >

Dec 27 (2010) -
Phuketwan reports that 2 Swedish men have hanged themselves over the Christmas holidays, one in Patong Beach, the other in Krabi Town. Reports suggest that Felipe Gustavo Basualto Trincado was found hanging from a doorknob in his hotel room. Read more >


The list above is just a handful of questionable reports involving strange suicides or accidental deaths over the past year, there are many more that are not reported, these are just a few of the most obvious that stand out. The local law enforcement appear to draw conclusions immediately upon arriving at the scene, and it would seem that whenever possible, they quickly conclude that suicide or some bizarre accident is the most likely cause of death. There seems to be no accountability, no investigation, no due process.

The list of foreign tourists that die of apparent heart attacks is enormous, and I am sure that many of them are actually drugged and robbed. It has long been known that local sex trade workers, both male and female, or even shemale, are known to spike customers drinks in order to later steal their belongings. It is not so hard to believe that a mix of alcohol and sleeping pills, or knockout drugs, could cause death.

If you are wondering why I have not quoted statistics, such as the number of suicides per year, that is because no accurate statistics are ever made available. Every few months the Phuket police provide reports of expat deaths to foreign envoys, and each time there are names that are missing from the list, this is often reported by

I have no interest in making Phuket look bad, or scaring people away from traveling to Phuket, I simply feel that the more people that know about these apparent coverups, the better chance there is that something will be done about it. The more stories that are published, the more people that speak out, the more pressure there is for local law enforcement to start doing their jobs, and conduct proper investigations as apposed to covering up murders.


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    • profile image

      Nick uk 6 years ago

    • TravelinAsia profile image

      TravelinAsia 6 years ago from Thailand/Southeast Asia

      Yes I remember the story well, it is shocking how these things just go quiet. It seems that money can solve a lot of problems here in Thailand. All the more reason for people to ask questions, and demand answers.

    • profile image

      Nick 6 years ago

      Another story I remember was that of a Canadian who was building a hotel on the Nanai road Patong. A singaporean women who reckoned she was owed money by him arranged for two guys to shoot him (which they did outside his apartment)and were subsequently arrested. They arrest the women who organised the hit and after a while she was released on bail.

      That's the last i ever heard about that, know follow up story and this must have happened about 3 years ago.

      There was a lot of money involved and it makes me think its just swept under the carpet...Money Talks

    • TravelinAsia profile image

      TravelinAsia 6 years ago from Thailand/Southeast Asia

      When things like this happen, people need to demand answers. It seems that this case has a lot of questions that need answering, first of all who was the rider of the other motorcycle. Was there anything missing from your nephew's wallet, any ATM cards, ID cards or credit cards. If you have the financial means, it would be a good idea to have the body examined back in your home country. A forensic pathologist would likely be able to determine whether the cause of death was from a traffic accident, or blunt force trauma from being beaten to death. One of the biggest problems you will face, is that once the Thai authorities make a decision on something, they will fight tooth and nail to defend that decision, because any other result would see them lose face. The idea of losing face, is not acceptable to Thai police.

    • profile image

      justice4westerner 6 years ago

      I can add another victim/death to your list of deaths on Phuket. Sunday 5th / Monday 6th Febuary (this month) my nephew was found on the road dead after a supposed motorcycle accident. The info i have at the moment is thus: He was riding a small motorbike before He was found dead on the road in the eary hours of the morning. It was said that he had 'hit a pole' and he had head injuries. He lost so much blood that his heart had stopped and he was dead when found. That sounds straight forward BUT It was also said he had tyre marks across his body, and that there was also another motorbike at the scene with no rider. He was found by a friend who had gone out looking for him after he hadn't arrived back at their house... It seems to be a known and well reported thing that there are gangs/groups of 'bandits' on Phuket that go out looking for or following lone motorcyclist non locals/tourists. They kick the them off the bikes, rob them and kill them. the latest thing seems to be that they leave a little bit of money in the persons wallet so that it doesn't look like robbery. they seem to stel identity as well, driving licence, credit cards etc..

      A follow up to the Italian dead motorcyclist that was found recently laying dead on the road, they found another body close to him, had been there a while so wasn't identafiable.

      Strange thing is that no one seems to be there when these so called accidents happen, no one sees anything, they just find dead bodies.

    • profile image

      sazzad 6 years ago

      we are two friends from bangladesh went to phuket on 14 to 19 december. all natural beauty are around the island.we enjoyed it very much and the nightlife also attract the visitors.but we noticed that the local restaurant's men ( who served food )behavior is rough....that is unwanted for tourist.

    • TravelinAsia profile image

      TravelinAsia 6 years ago from Thailand/Southeast Asia


      I suppose I will have to assume that you will decline to answer any questions about the murder case you reported and then changed the story? I guess you have to be careful what you say, so therefore you don't have the luxury of being honest. Nobody can blame you for being careful, but you don't have to attack me for speaking the truth..

    • profile image

      Joe uk 6 years ago

      thai police; the majority are a joke; it would appear that some journilists in thailand are a joke. Sure people die of accidents and natural causes on holiday, but for anyone to try to defend the statistics for phuket is laughable........maybe they too have to be careful what they right?

    • profile image

      Alan 6 years ago

      I'll add what I've already posted at Phuketwan in response to more level-headed readers. If you can avoid your gift for misinterpretation conspiracy theories, not to mention the bad language you've used on other sites, we may all save wasting time. The key point is that while you accept what you read on Phuketwan as accurate - which is is - you reject the truth about your ''epidemic'':

      ''When they travel, Westerners enjoy the freedom that most Asian countries give them to break free from rules and convention. So they ride motorcycles without helmets, take drugs and party, and generally put themselves at risk in ways they wouldn't do back home. Some of them also forget to take their medication. Others find themselves in deep emotional traumas of one kind or another. In the West, many would spend their time at work or sitting on a sofa, watching tv. When travelling or living in a country where you can be outdoors all year round, people make the most of it . . . without understanding that some activities are bound to be risky. Asians in Europe, Australia and America do get murdered, raped and robbed. The prime difference is in the diagnosis of death. In the West, there are inquests (even in the case of Britain on Britons who have died in Asia) or an equivalent form of finality. In Thailand and other parts of Asia, there is often no final independent conclusion, and often a police report or a doctor's examination, short of an autopsy, will suffice. To link every expat murder, suicide and death by misadventure is daft. All of these unfortunate people have governments who take an interest in their well being at home and overseas. If there were an excessive number of unexplained deaths, they would speak out and become involved - as the New Zealand government and other governments did in Chiang Mai last year, and as the Norwegian government did when two tourists died on Phi Phi from a genuinely unexplained reason a couple of years back. To look for a conspiracy or ''murder by suicide'' in every case is plain silly.''

    • TravelinAsia profile image

      TravelinAsia 6 years ago from Thailand/Southeast Asia

      Alan, It is hardly believable that you can print a story that says "the man may have slipped and fallen when trying to rig a nylon cord to a tree." And then when I question it, you call me paranoid, you refer to me as a "scaremonger"? You yourself have printed several reports on how the list of expat deaths is inaccurate, with names missing when presented to the honorary consuls.

      I am glad you stopped by for a chat, and now that we have you here, I would like to ask you a question? Remember that murder you reported last year, and then changed the story to "accidental death". You never did respond when I asked about the police statements in your original article?

      Let me refresh your memory, "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."

      I don't suppose you want to offer an explanation for that, along with the 4 other times you quoted police officers in that article? And you wonder why people are asking questions??

    • profile image

      Alan 6 years ago

      Jesse is not the first scaremonger to try to attract attention to themselves and their cock and bull theories. The legitimate problem is that the Thai system doesn't rule on the causes of deaths with the authority of the West's coronial system. This also poses obvious difficulties for reporters. But if there was a genuine spate of ''unexplained deaths,'' the ambassadors in Thailand would collectively be warning people about them. They are not. It's pointless responding to deepset paranoia.

    • profile image

      Hippeychick88 6 years ago

      Very strange how the editor of the Phuket Wan takes everything personally. I hate the way he has started to personally respond to comments, personalising them and insulting the posters.

      Get on the Tripadvisor forums and really warn people!

    • TravelinAsia profile image

      TravelinAsia 6 years ago from Thailand/Southeast Asia

      The newest twist to this comedy of errors, The editor of PhuketWan has blasted me in the comments below his most recent article, saying "Collecting material from sites that promote paranoia and post material from unreliable sources is a total waste of time."

      Funny thing is that almost all of the material for this article was printed in PhuketWan at their website, so it seems strange that the editor would make such a comment?

      Also PhuketWan has published several stories regarding the official total of expat deaths that is reported to the honorary consuls, stating that each time a list is presented there are names missing from the list. So it sure seems strange that now the editor claims "there aren't enough mysterious deaths on Phuket to cause general alarm"

      Just how many mysterious deaths will it take for Alan Morrison to be alarmed?

    • profile image

      Laughable 6 years ago

      It is truly pathetic in which the way these "police" (term should be changed) actually do anything.

      If you need help in Thailand, do NOT call the Police as they only help if you have the cash...

      Whoever pays the most gets the outcome they want- suicide, homicide or genocide.

    • profile image

      Farangh 6 years ago

      The Phuket cops are like the Keystone cops of the early Nineteen hundreds.

      No Knowledge and under maned.

      They are only Crowd control !!


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