As a follow-up to my August 25 posting ("New Zealander Murdered in Pattaya"), an arrest has been made in the murder of Charles Jones, 56, earlier this week. Jones, who was president of the New Zealand component of the World Croquet Federation, was found earlier in the week in his Pattaya (Thailand) beach apartment, the victim of robbery and murder. Fortunately, a 22-year-old Syrian suspect has been arrested by Thai police.
COMMENT: There were indications that Jones had befriended his assailant while staying in Pattaya. Security cameras at Jones' apartment building apparently revealed the Syrian waiting for Jones to return to his apartment, going up to his suite with Jones and later leaving with Jones' laptop and cellphone.
Unfortunately, many foreign travelers are very transparent, gregarious and outgoing. Although these are all good, positive traits while at home, I must respectfully suggest to everyone that people of means are often targeted by people with with nefarious objectives. Hence, a suspicious nature is essential in today's perilous, troubled times. '
I would also caution all travelers to not provide overly-friendly acquaintances with where one is staying until their bona fides has been satisfactorily corroborated. This would include not providing new friends with hotel room numbers and mobile phone numbers. Alternatively, I would suggest all travelers have a set of inexpensive business cards made before traveling abroad that simply identifies your name and an innocuous email address not connected to your website, intranet or employer (e.g., firstname.lastname@example.org). It is better to be safe than sorry.