Friday, July 7, 2017

Friday, July 07, 2017

While the death of Belgian Elise Delamagne on the Thai island of Koh Tao has produced reams more negative publicity for Thailand this is a story I have kept well away from because the reporting of it made me feel a trifle uneasy.

It has, however, prompted the Thais to shoot themselves in the foot again with Surat Thani governor Uaychai Innak announcing he would be suing the Samui Times, the source, for damaging the island’s reputation.

The Samui Times ‘broke’ this story at the same time stating that Koh Tao was known locally as ‘Death Island’.  Well that’s the first thing that made me suspicious. It smacks of the author trying to emulate the British tabloid press. Indeed, this article was ‘picked up’ by most of the British tabloids.

But ‘Death Island’?  Although they copied it because thankfully someone else made it up, no British tabloid reporter worth his salt could be quite so unimaginative. I might however write that this woman’s suspicious death happened in Thailand’s ‘murder archipelago’ and I guess I could justify that from the British Foreign Office’s travel advisory. Even Bangkok Thais treat the southern islands with caution.

Anyway, no such libel case is going to be brought under the Computer Crimes Act because the author was writing the story from the UK, and the Samui Times website is not put together in Thailand.

If the Thai authorities want to catch foreign crooks running websites and publications in Thailand they need go further than Hua Hin or Pattaya. However, these guys write nothing but flattering stuff about local officials, while scamming expats and visitors alike.

But how suspicious is the death of Elise, whose body was allegedly torn apart by wild animals, and whose luggage apparently went on a ferry to Chumphon?  By the way both those statements have since been denied by Thai police.

The Samui Times was created by a British woman who had resided in Koh Tao and Samui for many years, arriving as a ‘lotus eater’ working for dive companies etc, and even marrying into the local ‘family’. She knew all the local players on Koh Tao when Britons Hannah Witheridge and David Miller were brutally murdered there in 2014.

She even became a champion of the Burmese Zaw Lin and Wai Phyo, who were sentenced to death for the murders, visiting ‘my boys’ in prison. But her coverage became almost fanatical.
She even got into bed (not literally) with an Australian lawyer Ian Yarwood, who had decided also to take up the case of the migrant workers. 

But their joint writings got more and more outrageous and vicious.  Soon they were making open attacks on the defence team and another Australian lawyer who had offered his services ‘pro bono’. 

It got mucky and the only people who suffered were the two accused, one of whom, the couple were recently claiming, was not as innocent as the other.  In recent tweets Yarwood has even published pictures of Miller’s corpse.

The publisher of the Samui Times was not in the past very aggressive. She got her money from the advertising her website spawned and everything was nice on Koh Samui, at least in the Samui Times.

Indeed, when once I asked her the location of a well-known British criminal underworld figure, whom she knew, she replied: ‘Its more than my life’s worth!’  I mean I had the address. I just needed to figure out where it was!

Then in 2015 she returned to the UK announcing she was going to blow the lid on the island mafia. She spoke of mafia figures wheeling corpses up to the hills in Koh Tao, but nothing ever came of her stories.  I know she went to the BBC and got a rejection. Nowadays neither I or the BBC correspondent speak to her.
The last time we spoke she was in southern England but had to move because ‘they’ had discovered her address.

Author's Facebook post
So, is the death of Elise suspicious?  

Well yes, I guess most deaths of foreigners in these islands are. Particularly because, as usual, local police have no credibility and often keep shtum about the deaths and the justice system is rotten to the core.

And while Elise’s mother obviously wants answers I have never seen any quotes from her in the accusatory tone of the articles which have been written. 

It is of course routine for Thai police to divert blame to someone else. Hence, they announced they wanted to talk to a leader of a sect on Koh Phangan where Elise had stayed.  But that has produced nothing.

Do I believe these islands are dangerous for foreigners? Yes. They certainly can be, I even believe influential people would not bat an eyelid at murdering foreigners there. 

But police in Bangkok appear to have information that she tried to commit suicide there by throwing herself under a train. They even quote the hospital she was taken to for counselling.

I think this statement needs to be investigated before I can give credence to the suggested foul play.

After all it remains the case that most foreigners who die in the non ‘health and safety’ Samui archipelago are still the victims of tragic accidents and here there is no smoking gun. So I guess it could backfire on the foreign press, who have not been sweethearts for quite some time.

Having said that, my heart is not bleeding for the Surat Thani Governor. It is difficult to libel an inanimate object such as an island. As for what foreigners think of Koh Tao, well that's up to the behaviour of the locals.

Personally I have been stiffed for thousands down on this archipelago and refused to go there unless required to do so on assignment. 

For most though its paradise - until it isn't.


Trollmeister General said...

No AD, you are wrong. So very wrong. Most of these foreigners who die in the archipelago are NOT the victims of tragic accidents. They are victims of the Mafia who control these island and whom the foreigners have crossed, angered, annoyed, whatever - in some way.
You need to pull your head out from the sand and stop being an apologist for such a lawless society.
The powers-that-be should conduct a root and branch review of the Police structure, their procedures, and eliminate the endemic corruption.
The power of the Mafia who control these islands must be broken for once and for all.
If the political will was there - it could be done.
But sadly it won't happen.

Andrew Drummond said...

Indeed Troll M General I may be wrong. I don't think I can be described as a Thai apologist though. I do not think the military government is blocking my website for nothing. Just a hunch after covering murders in Thailand for 30 years.

leave Thailand to the Thais said...

Trollmeister. Who do you suggest to enforce your suggestion.British police went there and ended up on a jolly because it is poltical. Thailand and UK have trade agreements that push all domestic murders aside in the name of trade. Australia wouldn't help Schappele Corby in the name of trade. And Britain will not pay ransoms to kidnappers that they helped fund in the 1st place.
Funny old world isn't it.
Koh Tao has Mafia who kill and rape. Foreign office don't have the balls to make this common knowledge to young kids looking for adventure.

Ron Rushburg said...

"I even believe influential people would not bat an eyelid at murdering foreigners there."

Just ask a certain German ex-expat whom was a long term resident on KPN. Early last decade he started a movement to have the out of control FM parties moved away from residential areas. A local 'person of influence' paid two young incompetents to murder him. They entered his bedroom at night and shot him twice. He moved back to Germany and now runs a KPN website.
He is but one statistic among many.

Tarquinius Rex said...

I'm quite sure there are ways and means, in this age of the internet and social media in which we live, for organizations (NGOs etc. if Governments won't do it) to get the word out to ALL tourists of the dangers of Koh Tao.
These ways and means could include everything from paper flyers; electronic messages - literally anything and everything.

Stickmanbangkok has a very interesting piece in his latest column from an expat who was there on a diving trip recently. He apparently escaped the place by the skin of his teeth, after he asked 2 farang girls who were being hassled by a Thai punk in a bar to join him for a drink at his table.
He later escorted them back to their guesthouse safely.
Said punk - son of local Mafia boss - later turned up at chap's guesthouse with some mates looking for him.
Guesthouse owner "advised" chap to get off the island toot sweet which he did.
What a disgraceful state of affairs.

Ron Rushburg said...

"Australia wouldn't help Schappele Corby in the name of trade"
It was worse than that, much worse.
The fascist, morally bankrupt, & corrupt Howard govt. actually denied evidence being available, ie AFP & Sydney airport employees drug importation and using air travellers baggage as drug transport between airports. They also actively inferred her guilt, along with the willing help of the disgraceful MSM and some independent 'authors' planting false news stories and books presented as facts.
Mercedes, her sister, was awarded a few hundred thousand dollars damage two years ago due to libel.
The govt. also starved Schapelle of funds at a critical time in her defense of the false charges, using a law that legally can't be applied o'side of Australia (proceeds of crime act)to confiscate payment for her story.

The world is rotten all over and one can fall prey to evil systems and people even when trying not to.
But in the case of Ko Tao, well that is a very special place of evil.

Bob Kneale said...

Ron Rushberg, that German is but one statistic among, possibly just three, that have been reported and confirmed as murders/attempted murders. Which constitute "the many", with evidence, not forum speculation, that you refer to?

leave Thailand to the Thais said...

Ron. Spot on. I've followed Schappeles case since day 1.It must be one of the world's biggest miscarriage of justice. Shame on all who let this young lady rot in prison. one day the ride will turn. I hope Schappele finds peace now. God she deserves it.

Tarquinius Rex said...

I read recently an e-mail from a chap who went on a diving trip to Koh Tao not so long ago.
Whilst having a beer in one of the bars, he observed a Thai male hassling 2 foreign females, so when the opportunity press itself he invited them to join him.
Thai male apparently displeased.
Chap later escorted females back to their guesthouse with no untoward incident, but rude comments from Thai male.
Following morning, after a run, chap's guesthouse owner informed him that group of Thai males had come to the guesthouse looking for him. (Owner told them he was not there).
Photo produced of "leader" of group, who was son of local Mafia boss.
Chap checked out immediately & reckons was lucky to get out alive.
Welcome to Thailand. Land of smiles.

jules in KL said...


Schapelle Corby was found with a big bag of drugs fair and square at the customs point in Ngurah Rai airport and was dealt with fairly and properly in the Indonesian system. She is now out I believe on parole in Bali and when her sentence is fully served will certainly be deported.

Her defence was to deny that she had placed the drugs in her bag, not an easy one to run. She failed.

If she had not, then it was very bad luck indeed and a risk of travel.

Andrew Drummond said...

Hmm. Not often I see someone writing to use the words 'fair and proper' in relation to the Indonesian courts.

leave Thailand to the Thais said...

Jules in KL. Everyone is entitled to their opinion but if she was caught fair and square then as your so clever could you explain why the prosecution burned the evidence to find out where it came from.Can you explain why cctv from Australia went missing which could have cleared her. Can you explain any of the inconsistencies that this case is rife with. Can you explain how a bag of weed deserves a bigger sentence than Islamic Bali bombers.
She was a pawn in a poltical game of Government bullies.
Let's hope you never get unfortunate to be on the wrong and of their fair and square system

leave Thailand to the Thais said...

Oviously Jules in KL you don't know much about Schappele. She's been in Australia for a month now. Still being hounded. One day the truth will out

Ron Rushburg said...

The truth is out; it's just that ignorant, low IQ telly watchers can't see it. Are you there Jules?