Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Thailand: American Tourist, 51, Stabbed to Death by Musicians in Krabi, Son, 27, Injured

According to Fox News, US citizen Bobby Ray Carter, 51, died after he was stabbed twice in the chest while his son Adam, 27, suffered a stab wound to his arm, during a fight with members of the house band from the Longhorn Saloon earlier today (July 31) at Ao Nang beach in Krabi.

Reportedly, the elder American and his son refused to stop singing during a performance by three musicians

Much of Krabi province has been the seat of several national parks. The most prominent destinations are Hat Noppharat Thara, Ao Nang, Railay, Ko Phi Phi National Park. Yet over 80 smaller islands such as Lanta islands, or Koh Lanta, Phi Phi islands - made famous as the ideal location for adventurers, yachtsmen, scuba-divers, snorkelers and day-trippers from Phuket.

COMMENT: Police said the three musicians were arrested at the scene and confessed to stabbing the Americans.

Carter, 51, joined the musicians on stage for a singalong, but a dispute broke out when the American refused to stop singing while the band members took a break.

The end result might very well have been avoided if Carter and his son had just stopped singing as requested, rather than becoming "Ugly Americans" and giving the US a bad name.

As I have emphasized in so many of my postings in recent years, destinations in Thailand have reached the saturation point largely because of the Thai government's failure to intercede before things get totally out of control and someone gets stabbed or killed.

Having lived in Thailand for well over six years, most of it as a US Embassy senior Regional Security Officer (RSO), where I have dealt with virtually every types of mayhem that humans can wield against each other, the biggest problem today is that the Thai government, unofficially, has a "hands-off" policy where tourists are concerned.

Unfortunately, one key variable that differentiates Thailand from many other countries, apart from being called "The Land of Smiles," is that most Thais have a innate distrust of the police, which is why they invariably take the law into their own hands, rather than calling the police for assistance.

I should also note that beneath the smiles, Thais are very often inclined to resort to physical violence, given the nation's history.

I would suggest that new readers of our blog do a word search of our roughly 2,200 postings since 2009 and type in "Thailand," in order to see just how often cultures of the East and West clash.

Although the majority of foreign travelers, particularly young adults, seek cheap booze,  debauchery, "pirated" products, "knock-off" watches, most of the 22 million foreigners who visit Thailand every year fail to do one thing: Learn about the Thai culture, which is paramount to staying out of Harm's Way. Actually, one book I strongly recommend is CULTURE SHOCK-THAILAND, which will arm travelers and tourists with the information and skills they need to understand Thais.


Another book I would suggest is my own 2008 book entitled STAYING SAFE ABROAD: TRAVELING, WORKING AND LIVING IN A POST-9/11 WORLD, which has a good number of chapters on adapting to an international environment, which can be ordered by sending me an email to:

As a matter of interest, STAYING SAFE ABROAD is being fully updated and will be available for the iPad, Kindle and Nook in November 2013. To reserve a copy in print, just drop me an email.