Monday, July 28, 2014

Thailand: 92 Expats Dying in Phuket Annually Amounts to One Term: "Excessive"

Prior to continuing to discuss the growing number of foreign fatalities in Phuket, I ask that our readers review the below link in its entirety:  

Once you have reviewed the entire article from, I ask that you characterize your instinctive impression in two or three single responses, focusing on the fact that each year 92 foreigners die annually in Phuket alone, much less all of Thailand.

First of all, I'd like to commend co-authors Alan Morison and Chutima Sidasathian  for the thoroughness and objectivity in their report on the annual death toll in Phuket.

Seven factors jump from the piece at the outset:

1. Most evident was the fact that beginning in April 2012 Phuket authorities abruptly stopped releasing monthly accounts of deaths, injuries, suicides, drownings and suspicious deaths, although even a child could conclude that the monthly reports were stopped because the numbers were continuing to rise resulting in an embarrassment for the city;

2. The sudden censure of the monthly casualty reports amongst foreigners, if anything, drew attention to the the fact that the reports for 2012-2014 were stopped because the data was proving to becoming "a public relations nightmare";

3. One statement from page 2 of the Phuketwan piece is particularly troubling:

"The number of deaths reported by Phuket police in the first six months of 2014 is consistent with previous years." What precisely does that mean? If one processes the statement literally, that suggests that going back ten years for example, one can conclude that 920 expats have died in Phuket? Such a statement needs to be validated by Phuket police;

4. Considering my background in forensic science, and given the incredibly large number of foreigners who die in Phuket annually, it seems appropriate that rather than relying solely on newspaper accounts, it seems warranted that all foreigners dying while in Thailand should have the benefit of a forensic autopsy so that a licensed pathologist can certify actual causation of death;

5. I suggest that make a point of doing a special report on the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), explaining whether NCPO is publicly or privately funded, who its directors are by name, to whom it is accountable and interviewing its senior member and ask him/her for a quote as to why the monthly casualty reports are no longer distributed; and

6. Writing a letter the editor of The Bangkok Post and The Nation specifically requesting why the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) no longer maintains monthly casualty data on for 2012 through 2014. The written response should include the following data:

a. Why, specifically, the data is no longer data-based by NCPO;

b. Why, specifically, all casualties, including injuries are not maintained;

c. Why, specifically, all expats dying in Thailand are not autopsied;

d. Rather than subjectively ill-defining categories of casualties, the Royal Thai Police should be tasked with defining the categories; and

e. Maritime accidents should be categorized as follows: Type of maritime accident; number of vessels involved; number of injured parties; number of fatalities; vessels involved by type; copy of Maritime Police Report (MPR); total loss of life; total number of injuries; MPR must be filed within 72 hours; and

7. That all injuries to expats also be maintained so that all casualties can be properly tracked and data-based.