From Andrew Drummond, Koh Phangan, Samui Archipelago
Thailand’s holiday islands will be made a ‘gun free zone within a year the region’ Governor Chatpong Chataraputi declared today.
Following the fatal shooting of 22-year-old Stephen Ashton at a New Year’s beach party on the island of Koh Phangan all gun licenses will be checked, gun dealers will be warned, and people will be searched on arrival on the islands.
The measures will be taken in Koh Samui, and Koh Phangan - known as the Samui archipelago – and other tourist spots said the Governor of Surat Thani Province.
But the Vice President of the Thai Hotels Association wants the ‘gun free’ campaign extended to all resorts in Thailand.
Prakit Chinamourphong said: “The country's image is being destroyed because many tourists have been killed, robbed or raped in key tourist destinations like Pattaya, Phuket and Krabi.”
He referred to a recent incident on December 26, when two Russian women were robbed and raped after being kidnapped from a street in Pattaya and taken to a local reservoir area.”
The latest news is being viewed by many as a ‘jerk’ reaction to the publicity surrounding the death of Stephen Ashton, who worked as a clerk in the City of London.
Guns are almost impossible to control in Thailand which has the highest number of them per capita in Asia.
Local provinces in Thailand appear to operate as fiefdoms outside the control of Bangkok and more often than not police defer to the ‘nak raeng’ – local mafia.
They buy their guns from the same people.
|Vanessa and Adam|
In Chonburi Province for instance, in which is situated the sun, sea and sex resort of Pattaya, the local ‘nak raeng’ boss Kamnan Poh has been found guilty of murder but not spent a day in jail.
And more than once it has been the police themselves who have turned their guns on tourists.
On September 9th 2004 Vanessa Arscott, 23, and Adam Lloyd, 24 were murdered by Police Sergeant Somchai Wisetsingh in Kanchanaburi by the River Kwai.
Adam was shot first then he ran over Vanessa in his car but shooting her three times in the head, neck and chest, as she clung onto an electrical pylon by the site of the road.
Wisetsingh had been named as ‘Outstanding Officer of the Year’ three times running.
On January 6th 2008 Sergeant Uthai Dechachawit gunned down Canadians Leo Del Pinto and Carly Reisig in the northern Thai village of Pai, Mae Hong Son Province. Leo Del Pinto died immediately.
Sergeant Uthai was arrested but given bail and later, while on bail, he beat to death his eighteen year old Thai wife of two weeks.
He has been convicted of that offence and given life. But he has not yet been convicted of the murder of Leo Del Pinto, of Calgary, Alberta.
Nobody has been arrested for the murder and rape of Kirsty Jones, 23, from Brecon, in Chiang Mai in 2000.
Other British victims include Joanne Masheder, who was murdered by a monk in Kanchanaburi , Thailand in December 1995 and Katherine Horton, 21, from Cardiff who was raped, beaten and drowned by three Thai fishermen in Koh Samui in January 2007.
|Father's grief after Katherine Horton was raped and murdered|
The fisherman had come ashore after for some fun after watching porn movies and drinking on their fishing boat. They were later sentenced to death, which was commuted to life.