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Samui Loses One Of Its Prestigious Residents


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#1 sriracha john

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Posted 2006-03-18 04:41:48

Bank of England robber had bought house on Koh Samui

The alleged mastermind of the biggest robbery in British criminal history bought a house in Thailand before the gang stole 53 million pounds (3.6 billion baht) belonging to the Bank of England.

John Fowler, 57, who is now being held on charges of kidnap and robbery, invested in an exclusive housing development for Britons on Koh Samui, and planned to settle down among the palm trees and frangipani.

The hideaway estate of 27 designer homes with swimming pools and a private gym was ideal, Fowler told the developer.

"The security is good and it seems safe from villains and thieves with just the right sort of people."

Fowler from Staplehurst, Kent, was charged on March 1 with conspiracy to rob and three charges of kidnapping after the heist at Securitas, which even taking into account inflation easily tops the Britain's "Great Train Robbery" in 1963. Securitas is responsible for destroying used notes for the Bank of England.

Since the robbery on February 22 in Tonbridge, Kent, during which the depot's manager Colin Dixon, his wife Lynn and nine-year-old son Craig were kidnapped, some 19 million pounds has been recovered and a number of other arrests have been made in a massive manhunt by Scotland Yard and Kent Police.

Fowler, more than 18 months ago, had been making plans to move abroad to the beaches of Thailand which long ago replaced the Spanish coast as Britain's new "Costa del Crime".

Stuart Evans, a former estate agent, is the developer of Samran Gardens, Maenam, Koh Samui, with his Thai wife. Prices for homes at the estate started at Bt15 million.

He said: "I'm shocked and more than a little angry. This is a very small estate with an elite clientele. I vet all the applicants to see if they are suitable as I live on the estate myself.

"We have oil and car production executives, and the like, all Britons who have made their living honestly and are getting ready to retire in the sun.

"I interviewed John and his wife Linda. Okay, they were not particularly up market but at the same time they were not champagne people with a beer attitude. I liked them both, especially Linda.

"Also I did not want to fill the place with gin and tonic Hong Kong Brits, the sort of people I could really do with out.

"John and Linda bought in to the property over 18 months ago. Since then prices have trebled. They were originally looking for a place on the beach. But he said he like the placed because of its solitude and security and the fact that I also live on the estate and am available 24 hours.

"This is most upsetting. My wife is from a well-respected family on the island. They will feel like they were tricked.

"I knew there were problems because the property has been lying empty and I urged them to complete their landscaping plans.

"But I got a message from Linda four days ago saying they had been away on a skiing holiday but there was a family crisis.

"They have bought the house outright on a lease and were in the process of forming a Thai company to buy the freehold.

"They can forget about buying the freehold, and take their money back."

In the last few years, foreign police have extradited American, French, German, Italian, Scandinavian and Greek nationals from Thailand on murder and robbery charges.

These extraditions have now become almost a monthly routine.

Among the British nationals strongly connected with homes in Thailand have been John Palmer, the Time-Share king, who is suspected of smelting the bullion from the Brinks Matt robbery; and Michael Mescal, a former East London market trader, accused of being a leading drug trafficker, who is facing narcotics charges in Italy.

Pattaya has a notorious criminal reputation and was where Robert Henry, 48, a Coventry boxing promoter, was gunned down three years ago.

While no foreigner can own land in Thailand, British criminals and foreigners in the sex trade take the usual course in circumventing the law by establishing Thai companies to buy property.

Technically they own no more than 49 per cent but the companies do not trade and the Thai shareholders are usually appointed by their lawyers and have no real control.

They stand to lose everything, however, if their cover is blown by criminal associates back home.

- TN

#2 sriracha john

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Posted 2006-03-18 05:11:51

With apologies... but I'm afraid that I'm not able to find any other photo of one of Samui's elite residents. He seems a bit camera shy at the moment or maybe he's just playing a game of Hide and Go Seek with some of his policemen friends.... :

Posted Image
Peek A Boo!!

#3 Rooo

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Posted 2006-03-18 05:45:44

Oh God , that interview with Mr Evans, should have been posted in JOKES OF THE DAY.Prices have trebled but HE CAN HAVE his money BACK. :D :D :D :D :o

#4 taxexile

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Posted 2006-03-18 09:11:58

I vet all the applicants to see if they are suitable as I live on the estate myself.

"We have oil and car production executives, and the like, all Britons who have made their living honestly and are getting ready to retire in the sun.

"I interviewed John and his wife Linda. Okay, they were not particularly up market but at the same time they were not champagne people with a beer attitude. I liked them both, especially Linda.

"Also I did not want to fill the place with gin and tonic Hong Kong Brits, the sort of people I could really do with out.

"John and Linda bought in to the property over 18 months ago. Since then prices have trebled. They were originally looking for a place on the beach. But he said he like the placed because of its solitude and security and the fact that I also live on the estate and am available 24 hours.

"This is most upsetting. My wife is from a well-respected family on the island. They will feel like they were tricked.










sounds like this estate agent is trying to play god , using social engineering and "advanced " interviewing techniques to fill his little kingdom with his sort of people.

prick.

would he let david beckham in ?

any jews in there , any lottery winning salt of the earth bus conductors , any pakistanis , any blacks ? how about yorkshire accents.

prick.


"They can forget about buying the freehold, and take their money back."



read that as "fukc that contract that you signed with me , its not worth the paper its written on you bank robbing little toerag "

a well-respected family on the island


well respected by who ? other well respected families on the island no doubt !! :o


champage people with a beer attitude , you couldnt make this stuff up !!

more like koh samui people with a monte carlo attitude.

samran gardens.............. i'd rather take my chances on a dagenham council estate than live among his kind of people. :D


falangs land on that island and immediately form themselves into some kind of social pecking order , obscure cliques supposedly depending on their status in their former lives off the island , only the whole thing is one huge illusion as no one knows anything about where all these people have come from , talk is cheap ( about the only thing that is cheap on that island) hence bank robbers and bank managers living next door to one another.

there is a wonderful novel in there somewhere.

there are more insecure personalities per square metre on that island than in all of california.

Edited by taxexile, 2006-03-18 09:35:56.


#5 the gent

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Posted 2006-03-18 14:32:58

Sir Alan Ayckbourn built his career upon writing about the neuroses of the British suburban middle classes populated by bumptious little prigs such as this twerp, Evans. Definitely a case of life imitating art.
An excellent article which should be pinned immediately for all to gain a valuable insight into the pretentions of the Samui expat.

I particularly liked his reference to the gin 'n tonic Hong Kong Brits, a proscribed group which evidently has offended him in some way. I wonder how? I suspect they have more money and quite rightly look down upon estate agents who as a breed should be culled regularly, preferably along the lines of decimation. You can always have too many of the buggers.

#6 Rooo

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Posted 2006-03-18 18:35:15

Sir Alan Ayckbourn built his career upon writing about the neuroses of the British suburban middle classes populated by bumptious little prigs such as this twerp, Evans. Definitely a case of life imitating art.
An excellent article which should be pinned immediately for all to gain a valuable insight into the pretentions of the Samui expat.

I particularly liked his reference to the gin 'n tonic Hong Kong Brits, a proscribed group which evidently has offended him in some way. I wonder how? I suspect they have more money and quite rightly look down upon estate agents who as a breed should be culled regularly, preferably along the lines of decimation. You can always have too many of the buggers.


Not all Samui EXPATS are of the same mould ,nor are all EXPATS all over Thailand.But guess what?The bad ones will always outshine the good ones.

#7 Rooo

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Posted 2006-03-18 18:40:54

Where are the Moderators when you need them.

#8 the gent

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Posted 2006-03-18 19:39:39

Where are the Moderators when you need them.

Why would you need a moderator? Are you an estate agent ?

#9 Rooo

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Posted 2006-03-18 20:03:03

I wasn't refering to you ( the gent ) lmao.

#10 taxexile

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Posted 2006-03-18 20:19:30

bumptious little prigs such as this twerp, Evans


nicely put .

i met him once when i was looking for land to buy down there , he seemed ok and he has a reputation for professionalism down there , but after reading his admission requirements to enter his little kingdom , "samran gardens" , i now think he has been out in the sun too long.


i am still of the opinion that anybody with the kind of money to blow on a thai built gaff on a samui housing estate run by a tyrranical snob such as this guy (available 24 hours a day ...... "you cant park there" , "would you not put your garbage bin out where everybody can see it please" ," can you hang your washing out at the back please" , " would you mind turning robbie williams down for a while , i cant hear myself counting my profit margins and the in laws are coming over for sunday lunch and they are respectable people you know") would not even consider a place like samui.

"samran" , in thai , means cheerful and happy i believe , the sort of net curtain twitchers that he is hoping to attract are usually less than cheerful people , and will be downright angry people when they experience the flooded roads , the less than helpful public officials , the greedy shopkeepers and the dangerous traffic.



samui attracts new money , dodgy money , wide boy money , bank heist money , pocketfuls of readies type money and money that needs a good wash and the tabloid folk that come with it.


real money , old money , the sort of people that evans wet dreams about , would go to florida , france or spain , real real money would go to the bahamas.

they wouldnt be seen dead on samui.

#11 Rooo

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Posted 2006-03-18 20:49:04

Take a deep breath tax,take 2 tablets & talk to me in the morning.We don't want to use the straight jacket again do WE ? :o

#12 sriracha john

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Posted 2006-03-18 22:06:10

bumptious little prigs such as this twerp, Evans


nicely put .

i met him once when i was looking for land to buy down there , he seemed ok and he has a reputation for professionalism down there , but after reading his admission requirements to enter his little kingdom , "samran gardens" , i now think he has been out in the sun too long.


i am still of the opinion that anybody with the kind of money to blow on a thai built gaff on a samui housing estate run by a tyrranical snob such as this guy (available 24 hours a day ...... "you cant park there" , "would you not put your garbage bin out where everybody can see it please" ," can you hang your washing out at the back please" , " would you mind turning robbie williams down for a while , i cant hear myself counting my profit margins and the in laws are coming over for sunday lunch and they are respectable people you know") would not even consider a place like samui.

"samran" , in thai , means cheerful and happy i believe , the sort of net curtain twitchers that he is hoping to attract are usually less than cheerful people , and will be downright angry people when they experience the flooded roads , the less than helpful public officials , the greedy shopkeepers and the dangerous traffic.



samui attracts new money , dodgy money , wide boy money , bank heist money , pocketfuls of readies type money and money that needs a good wash and the tabloid folk that come with it.


real money , old money , the sort of people that evans wet dreams about , would go to florida , france or spain , real real money would go to the bahamas.

they wouldnt be seen dead on samui.


Excellent, excellent writing...
:o

it is yet another prime example of why taxexile is one of the absolute best posters on this forum
:D

#13 Prakanong2005

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Posted 2006-03-19 03:09:29

Sir Alan Ayckbourn built his career upon writing about the neuroses of the British suburban middle classes populated by bumptious little prigs such as this twerp, Evans. Definitely a case of life imitating art.
An excellent article which should be pinned immediately for all to gain a valuable insight into the pretentions of the Samui expat.

I particularly liked his reference to the gin 'n tonic Hong Kong Brits, a proscribed group which evidently has offended him in some way. I wonder how? I suspect they have more money and quite rightly look down upon estate agents who as a breed should be culled regularly, preferably along the lines of decimation. You can always have too many of the buggers.



Brilliant - made me chuckle.

I do wonder what the Hong Kong G&T have done to this bumptious idiot ;-)

Nice 10 million he will make there giving the 5 million back and now the prices have trebled he could sell it on.

Of course the guy in jail will of course be well connected and the estate agent might not get to enjoy the fruits of his labour very long as the robber may just take out another contract to make up for the one cancelled :o

Then again he probably has more on his mind right now

#14 Rooo

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Posted 2006-03-19 07:00:34

Sriracha, Tax's posts can be witty, but then it all goes back to rubbishing Samui when he doesn't even live here.Same as you Sriracha.We can all comment & have fun at certain things,sure there is ground for dissatisfaction wherever you go, but this is a fixation with some of you guys.As I said before, people can make their own minds up,they can do searches through the forum & I'm sure various opinions will manifest themselves.
I really don't see you going to any trouble searching for good pieces of news & posting them either,you seem to revel in posting doom & gloom in general .What stories have you posted in the positive to balance them out? None.So I let the others figure out your agenda.
Have a good life after you get one.

#15 mosquitoman

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Posted 2006-03-19 07:01:27

bumptious little prigs such as this twerp, Evans






samui attracts new money , dodgy money , wide boy money , bank heist money , pocketfuls of readies type money and money that needs a good wash and the tabloid folk that come with it.


real money , old money , the sort of people that evans wet dreams about , would go to florida , france or spain , real real money would go to the bahamas.

they wouldnt be seen dead on samui.


Sure this guy evans comes accross as a complete tosser,

I think the bahamas, france, spain and florida has attracted more dodgy money than Samui ever has or ever will, Try visiting Marbella, Cannes, or Miami, these places are full of people flaunting there ill gotten gains,

Old money real money in my view is ill gotten at one time or another, but these people with time have learnt not to be so crass about how they flaunt it, and is probably why you have not noticed them on Koh Samui.

#16 sriracha john

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Posted 2006-03-19 07:32:50

Sriracha, Tax's posts can be witty, but then it all goes back to rubbishing Samui when he doesn't even live here.Same as you Sriracha.We can all comment & have fun at certain things,sure there is ground for dissatisfaction wherever you go, but this is a fixation with some of you guys.As I said before, people can make their own minds up,they can do searches through the forum & I'm sure various opinions will manifest themselves.
I really don't see you going to any trouble searching for good pieces of news & posting them either,you seem to revel in posting doom & gloom in general .What stories have you posted in the positive to balance them out? None.So I let the others figure out your agenda.
Have a good life after you get one.


One of the reasons that Tax's posts are so very witty is that they are so very true.

As for "balancing" Samui, there are plenty of other glossy brouchere-type posts pointing out all the wonderful and fabulous things about that paradise isle, so no need for others to add to it.

Sorry if the truth is intepreted by yourself as "doom & gloom"...

The truth and a "real" balance is my only "agenda".... if you care to point out anything erroneous or false that I've posted, feel free.

#17 Rooo

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Posted 2006-03-19 07:43:28


Sriracha, Tax's posts can be witty, but then it all goes back to rubbishing Samui when he doesn't even live here.Same as you Sriracha.We can all comment & have fun at certain things,sure there is ground for dissatisfaction wherever you go, but this is a fixation with some of you guys.As I said before, people can make their own minds up,they can do searches through the forum & I'm sure various opinions will manifest themselves.
I really don't see you going to any trouble searching for good pieces of news & posting them either,you seem to revel in posting doom & gloom in general .What stories have you posted in the positive to balance them out? None.So I let the others figure out your agenda.
Have a good life after you get one.


One of the reasons that Tax's posts are so very witty is that they are so very true.

As for "balancing" Samui, there are plenty of other glossy brouchere-type posts pointing out all the wonderful and fabulous things about that paradise isle, so no need for others to add to it.

Sorry if the truth is intepreted by yourself as "doom & gloom"...

The truth and a "real" balance is my only "agenda".... if you care to point out anything erroneous or false that I've posted, feel free.



Real balance? Whatever Sriracha.

#18 sriracha john

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Posted 2006-03-19 08:24:18



Sriracha, Tax's posts can be witty, but then it all goes back to rubbishing Samui when he doesn't even live here.Same as you Sriracha.We can all comment & have fun at certain things,sure there is ground for dissatisfaction wherever you go, but this is a fixation with some of you guys.As I said before, people can make their own minds up,they can do searches through the forum & I'm sure various opinions will manifest themselves.
I really don't see you going to any trouble searching for good pieces of news & posting them either,you seem to revel in posting doom & gloom in general .What stories have you posted in the positive to balance them out? None.So I let the others figure out your agenda.
Have a good life after you get one.


One of the reasons that Tax's posts are so very witty is that they are so very true.

As for "balancing" Samui, there are plenty of other glossy brouchere-type posts pointing out all the wonderful and fabulous things about that paradise isle, so no need for others to add to it.

Sorry if the truth is intepreted by yourself as "doom & gloom"...

The truth and a "real" balance is my only "agenda".... if you care to point out anything erroneous or false that I've posted, feel free.



Real balance? Whatever Sriracha.


yes, real balance..

if there are only threads titled, "Lovely Haagen-Daaz Shop found on Chawaeng"... "Party At Toddy House Tonight" ... and "Poll To Ban Khun Jean From This Forum" "Samui Islandís Tourism Booming This Year" or anything posted by Lisa28.. :o
.... then, the only concept that one can deduce from reading threads of Samui is that it is Utopia.

However, if you have threads that balance those with other aspects of life in this "Utopia"...such as "Another British Woman Raped On Koh Samui", "Bag Snatch And Muggings On Koh Samui", and "Craig Scott Murdered"

well...

then...

that's spelled, b-a-l-a-n-c-e.

Whatever Sriracha.


whatever??? :D :D :D

phew.... thanks for at least not saying, "Talk to the hand, Sriracha"

#19 Rooo

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Posted 2006-03-19 09:04:38

[quote name='sriracha john' post='683349' date='2006-03-19 08:24:18'][quote name='Rooo' post='683327' date='2006-03-19 07:43:28']
[quote name='sriracha john' post='683325' date='2006-03-19 07:32:50']
[quote name='Rooo' post='683306' date='2006-03-19 07:00:34']
Sriracha, Tax's posts can be witty, but then it all goes back to rubbishing Samui when he doesn't even live here.Same as you Sriracha.We can all comment & have fun at certain things,sure there is ground for dissatisfaction wherever you go, but this is a fixation with some of you guys.As I said before, people can make their own minds up,they can do searches through the forum & I'm sure various opinions will manifest themselves.
I really don't see you going to any trouble searching for good pieces of news & posting them either,you seem to revel in posting doom & gloom in general .What stories have you posted in the positive to balance them out? None.So I let the others figure out your agenda.
Have a good life after you get one.[/quote]

One of the reasons that Tax's posts are so very witty is that they are so very true.

As for "balancing" Samui, there are plenty of other glossy brouchere-type posts pointing out all the wonderful and fabulous things about that paradise isle, so no need for others to add to it.

Sorry if the truth is intepreted by yourself as "doom & gloom"...

The truth and a "real" balance is my only "agenda".... if you care to point out anything erroneous or false that I've posted, feel free.
[/quote]


Real balance? Whatever Sriracha.
[/quote]

yes, real balance..

if there are only threads titled, "Lovely Haagen-Daaz Shop found on Chawaeng"... "Party At Toddy House Tonight" ... and "Poll To Ban Khun Jean From This Forum" "Samui Islandís Tourism Booming This Year" or anything posted by Lisa28.. :o
.... then, the only concept that one can deduce from reading threads of Samui is that it is Utopia.

However, if you have threads that balance those with other aspects of life in this "Utopia"...such as "Another British Woman Raped On Koh Samui", "Bag Snatch And Muggings On Koh Samui", and "Craig Scott Murdered"

well...

then...

that's spelled, b-a-l-a-n-c-e.

[quote]Whatever Sriracha.[/quote]

whatever??? :D :D :D

phew.... thanks for at least not saying, "Talk to the hand, Sriracha"
[/quote]

:D :D :D Get a grip on life mate, these things happen everywhere.I will just let your posts & responses speak for themselves.
Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder,what suits you might not suit me.
What started on your side as a humourous posting, was turned into a Samui bashing session as usual.
So tell me then , what is the use of anyone trying to post some positive things just to get ridiculed.
See Sriracha & Co ,I really think your AGENDA is to sabotage this Samui Forum & Samui in general.
You are all entitled to your opinions,but it is now turning into an obsession .
Let the others make their minds up,I have said my piece.Have a nice day.
From Roo & the HAND lmao. :D

#20 taxexile

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Posted 2006-03-19 09:17:06

but then it all goes back to rubbishing Samui when he doesn't even live here.



ahh , but i did live there , i had hoped to make our home there , we were there for nearly two years

and what we found there is best described in this article from the uk press , published shortly after the katherine horton murder. it may have been posted before , but it is well written and worth another read , it is also relevant to this thread as it deals with crime and the lack of controls on that island.

it seems that those who have chosen to live on samui refuse to accept that it is anything but a tropical paradise , and continue to see life there through rose coloured spectacles.

its a great place for a two week break , but as a permanent home....... forget it.

its run by the greedy for the benefit of the greedy. end of story.

i also take on board mosquitomans comments that spain has its fare share of resident expat criminals too.

Paradise lost

Katherine Horton travelled to Thailand lured by the promise of a palm-fringed idyll. Instead she met her death at the hands of two local fishermen. As they await sentence Lorna Martin uncovers the harsh truth behind the postcard images

Sunday January 15, 2006
The Observer


When Katie Gill decided to visit Koh Samui during her round-the-world trip she had an image in her mind of the most pleasurable place on the planet. Miles of white sandy beaches, clear azure water sparkling in the sunlight, cheap beachfront accommodation, serenity, solitude and, above it all, a crown of coconut palms blowing in the breeze. Like many things in life, it didn't quite live up to the fantasy. She didn't, for instance, expect to see a giant Tesco superstore or a Starbucks or McDonald's. And it was much busier and noisier than she'd expected. But she wasn't too disappointed. When she sat on the sand listening to the waves splashing gently on the shore, it felt as close as she would ever get to that funny old concept called paradise.
Katie had planned on staying a few days, but after a week decided to abandon the rest of her adventure around the globe and stay for a month - for two months - forever on the small island on the Gulf of Thailand.

On a hot and sticky evening last week, some two years after she arrived, the 25-year-old from Derbyshire, sat outside one of the few remaining bars in the town of Lamai that she still feels safe in, sipping an ice-cold Singha beer.

The pot-holed and flood-damaged road through the town was teeming with traffic, the air thick with dust and petrol fumes. Stalls offering lethal local whisky and fake designer goods competed for pavement space with stray dogs and people selling chickens and ducks. On the narrow road, hundreds of motorcycles tried to out-do each other by constantly blasting their horns, while dilapidated jeeps crawled along, their Tannoys blaring adverts for the best foam parties and Thai lady boxing.

In the glut of neon-lit 'lady bars', drunken, lonely Western men were propped up by groups of beautiful Thai women, giggling and whispering and wondering whether tonight was going to be the night that they would get lucky and hit on a man with a bulging wallet and an urge to get married.
Were they shocked by the news, two weeks ago now with the men already caught, of the rape and murder of the Welsh student Katherine Horton? Yes, it seems. But they may well be the only ones.



'It's not paradise any more and I guess it never will be,' said Katie, surveying the scene around her and wondering whether, at 25, it's time to move on. 'For the first time since I came here I don't feel safe. I used to live on the beach and would often walk alone to bars or wander home a little bit drunk on my own. I never felt scared. I used to think in a place like Koh Samui, as a single female, nothing could go wrong. I actually thought it was more dangerous for single foreign guys because they are always getting ripped off by bar girls and lady boys. Now I would be afraid to walk along the beach on my own and I rarely socialise. For the first time in two years I have actually been longing for home.'

She is not the only one. Since the murder on New Year's Day, many British tourists have abandoned the tropical resort, unable or unwilling to accept that the worst horrors of the modern world can also reside in a place they thought was the nearest thing to heaven on earth.

On Wednesday two illiterate and impoverished fishermen, who have pleaded guilty to rape and murder, will be sentenced for the crime. Bualoi Posit, 23, and Wichai Somkhaoyai, 24, could face execution.

As they await the judge's ruling, a new picture of Thailand is emerging, a sharp contrast to the palm trees of the brochures. Spiralling violence and corruption on the island is growing amid increasing resentment among some Thais about its unregulated over-development. The Observer has also spoken to British women who claim Thai police do not treat rape seriously. In addition, there are also concerns in some quarters about the quality of the investigation into Katherine's murder.


In Britain, her murder has sparked fears about the safety of backpackers and the dilemma faced by an increasing number of parents in an ever-shrinking and more accessible world. Any parent with an adventurous child must have wondered what they would have done in a similar situation as they listened to the words of Ian Horton. He was nervous about his 21-year-old daughter travelling to another continent. But she had tried to reassure him that she could just as easily be knocked down by a bus at home. 'She was full of confidence,' he said. 'She felt immune to the dangers of the world, as we have all felt when we were young adults. She came to Thailand to dance on a beach, to ride an elephant. Tragically her faith in her fellow man let her down.'

In Koh Samui, Thailand's fastest growing tourist destination, the case has provoked strong emotion. Last week, a planned re-enactment of the murder had to be abandoned after an angry mob surrounded the culprits with wooden clubs. On Thursday, hundreds of local people ventured down to a previously undiscovered stretch of beach to take part in a special Buddhist service where Katherine's body was found. They raised two large white banners in the sand which read: 'The people of Koh Samui would like to offer our most heartfelt condolences to the bereaved family of Katherine Elizabeth Horton.' After prayers and the reading of a specially written poem, each person was handed a single white rose which was thrown into the waves, as orange-robbed monks placed a giant wreath of roses in the sea in the student's memory.

Later that evening, in the beach-huts and resorts along Lamai beach, it remained the sole topic of conversation.

'I am very angry about what happened,' said Piya Chanthong, a well-known local businessman who owns a complex of beachside apartments near where Katherine had been staying and is campaigning for more control over development and extra police officers for the area. 'The people who did this have nothing in their heads. They just drink and watch porn and decide they have to find a lady to rape. In Samui foreign girls have been raped before, but not killed. To rape and kill is very unusual here. That is why everyone is so angry. They are afraid that it is going to make people hate Thailand.'

As he talked, two Thai men wandered along the beach. The looked like walking zombies - stumbling through the sand and clawing at the thin air in front of them. Their eyes were glazed and they seemed oblivious to anything but their own hallucinations, which they appeared to be following and trying to grasp. 'Ton Lamphong,' Mr Chanthong explained, adding that many Thai men chew the highly toxic plant constantly. It is legal but can leave some people who are not used to it completely whacked out for days. It is a small part of a big drug problem on the island.


Fifteen years ago, Koh Samui was a backpacker's secret - a sleepy and unspoilt coconut and fishing island. Then came the dream of The Beach - the film based on Alex Garland's novel starring Leonardo DiCaprio. The island from which tourists visit the film's location was, before the tsunami hit it, so overbuilt that the water supply had been irretrievably poisoned by tourists' waste. These days Koh Samui is bursting at the edges and now rivals Phuket as one of the country's most popular destinations. It has recently experienced a triple boom, benefiting from a financial crisis which suddenly made Thailand very cheap for visitors, the 2002 Bali bombing which discouraged people from going to the Indonesian island, and the 2004 tsunami which devastated the west coast of Thailand but left Koh Samui unscathed.

Last year, during high season, it was so busy that some tourists were found sleeping in temples. For some it is all good news - property developers, the sex trade, wealthy expats and ex-cons are reaping the benefits. Others, mainly backpackers and poor uneducated Thai people, many of whom do not have running water and live in shacks are paying a heavy price. Although still unarguably beautiful in parts, many of Thailand's main beaches and towns have been ruined by the trappings of western tourism. Lamai has been spoken about as the new Ibiza or Faliraki. Premiership football matches are shown in many bars, the Daily Mail is widely available. In addition to such western influences, it has also emerged as one of the largest and least regulated red-light areas in the country. It is not easy to find a bar in Lamai which is not a front for prostitution and many Thais say the scene is now far worse than the once notorious Patpong district of Bangkok. God's joke is that the poor got all the things that the rich so desperately want to buy. In Lamai, it's easy to see his point. The bars are littered with beautiful, svelte erotically confident women. The wobbly, pale, plump tourists, with their money and their leisure wear, holiday socks and sandals look like another species.
There is no doubt that it is now commercial tourism, sex tourism, which draws most tourists to Koh Samui and brings in the big bucks.




Although official figures are not kept, it is estimated that there are around 10,000 prostitutes in Samui alone. Thai officials have an uncomfortable relationship with this side of their country. At least 10 per cent of the total tourist spending is on the sex trade which, although illegal, is tacitly tolerated by the government because of the enormous sums earned from it.



Many Thais hate it. 'There are two types of Thai men,' volunteered Chanthong later as we watched these enthusiastic women at work. He paused while he took a mouthful of his scallop and coconut soup. We were surrounded by pink neon light and screams from the foam party across the road intermittantly pierced the air. 'There are those who work with tourists and those who have come down from the mountains and never come into contact with them. Most Thai men have the same respect for Western women as they do for Thais, but there are some men who see European women topless on the beach and think it is easy to have sex with them. I even have some friends who came down from Bangkok and ask if I can find them a European woman to have sex with. I say it is not like a piece of cake. They don't understand that. I suppose it's the same as the European men who come here thinking Thai women are easy.'

The following day I met other Thais and some ex-pats for breakfast in a tiny fishing village two miles north of Lamai. The village was swathed in an eerie silence. 'Fishermen work at night,' his friend explained. What do they do during the day? 'They sit and look.' Under the palms in the close morning heat, groups of men were squatting perfectly still, gazing out to the blue and placid sea. Here and there a half-hearted game of draughts was in progress. 'These men have come down from the mountains. They earn around 1000 Baht (around £14) a month. They have no running water and live in dilapidated huts with children running around in rags and bare feet.' This is the side of paradise hidden from tourists.



Koh Samui is increasingly becoming a tale of two cities. While it is still possible to rent a beach hut for £10 a night, like the one Katherine had stayed in, they are becoming a rarity. In their place are multi-million-dollar homes and five-star spa resorts. In the next six months, around 20 upmarket health spas are due to open. In these resorts, foreigners are only too happy to pay hundreds, or even thousands of pounds, to starve themselves, undergo colonic irrigation and have daily yoga sessions, but they tend rarely to leave their complexes. Local workers will see little benefit from the continued development of the island, while expats, property developers and corrupt government officials will continue to rake money in.
Although the permanent population of the island is just 40,000, it now draws nearly a million tourists every year. Thailand as a whole hopes to increase its tourist numbers from 14 million to 20 million by the end of 2008.

Unless there are some controls, however, on the relentless overdevelopment of islands such as Koh Samui, many locals fear it will not only spoil the area and the environment, but also lead to an increase in crime.

There is already endemic corruption among police and government officials in Thailand. And, despite Samui's increasing levels of crime, it has only 15 tourist police and a regular force of 200.

'We urgently need more police,' said Chanthong. 'It is not the same island as it was 10 years ago. We need police now to walk along the beaches at night. At the moment you rarely see a policeman in Samui, but there is a lot of violence. As more money pours into the island, people no longer care about their friends.'



He recalled an incident, which happened the same night as the murder of Katherine, in which a 15-year-old Thai boy was stabbed through the heart by another Thai man in a petty argument over money. In another widely talked about incident, three men walked into a bar in early December and shot an off-duty policeman who had been trying to clamp down on the drugs trade. 'Nowadays in Samui people will get shot over a queue for a motorbike taxi,' he said. 'There are more guns in Samui than permanent residents. Gangs of people are trying to control territory and they are prepared to kill to control it.'

Katherine was the seventh British tourist to have been killed in Thailand in the past 16 months, a statistic which has alarmed Thai ministers and British officials. Despite the myth peddled in holiday brochures and assurances from police and politicians that Koh Samui is safe, in the past eight weeks, there have been at least five murders, more than 20 robberies, the same number of violent assaults and around 15 gun-related incidents.

The Observer also understands that there have been at least two more reported rapes on the island since the beginning of December. One involved a 26-year-old British woman who was allegedly raped by two men in the island's busiest resort of Chuweng. The two fishermen charged with Katherine's murder have been linked to this attack. Photographs of them have been sent to the victim but sources in Thailand have said the men vehemently denied any involvement. In the other case, a 12-year-old Swedish girl was allegedly raped by a man who worked in the resort where her family was staying.

Although these are the only known reported rapes, the true level is thought to be much higher. Police in Thailand tend to turn a blind eye to violence in relationships, even if that relationship is little more than a one-night liaison on the beach.

Later that day, I met a group of ex-pat British women, who had lived in Samui for between three and 10 years after first visiting the island as a backpacker. It was hot and humid and bright, with just enough breeze to shake the frangipani. We sat surrounded by lush greenery, sipping fresh coconut juice and discussing island life.

One English woman who asked for her name not to be published said police were dismissive when she asked for help in dealing with a violent ex-boyfriend. 'They asked if the man, who was a Thai, was my boyfriend and when I told him he was my ex they said they couldn't do anything,' she said. 'If there is a violent fight in the street between a man and a woman no one will bat an eyelid. In the case of Katherine Horton, the sad truth is that if she had been raped and not murdered people here wouldn't have been that bothered. There is a view here that if a foreign girl goes for a walk on the beach with a Thai man then she is basically giving him the go-ahead for sex.'

Another woman, Dee Walker, who has lived here for three years with her Thai boyfriend, said she had fallen out of love with the island. 'It is getting more and more like Ibiza,' she said.

The hope among many Thais is that Katherine's murder may focus minds. It may just bring a little more control over the rapid development of the island and its crumbling infrastructure.

Paiant Pangha, a driver in the area, said many ordinary Thais felt their island was being taken away from them and destroyed forever. 'This was once a beautiful island, but it has lost so much of its charm. It resembles a massive construction site, as every inch of land is sold off to developers to build more luxury resorts, with no regard whatsoever for the environment or the natural ecology. There are mafia gangs operating here and lots of ex-cons. Life here used to be plain and simple and easy. But that has all been spoilt.'

As well as government action, he would like to see tourists taking more responsibility when they travel to foreign shores.

'It's terribly sad what happened to Katherine. Every Thai person is deeply saddened by it and hate the men who did that to her. But I also think it is important that as more and more tourists come here, they respect our different culture. I'm not talking about Katherine here but there are many European women who ignore our culture and, for example, run around topless on the beach. I know many Thai men who boast about the number of farangs [foreigners] that they have slept with.

'I just think it would be better for everyone if people respected other peoples' cultures and environments.'

With the eyes of the world's press on them, and because of their fear of inflicting damage on their vital tourist industry, the Thai authorities have acted with unprecedented haste in solving the murder of Katherine. Hundreds of officers were dispatched to the province and in an unusual public appeal, the country's prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra said the killers should receive the 'hardest punishment possible'.

While the efficiency of the authorities is likely to be welcomed by Katherine's relatives and those working in the tourist industry, there are some concerns about the handling of the case. Local reporters have revealed that they were initially told by Thai police to play down the death in order not to damage the tourist trade. The fast-tracking of the court case has also raised some eyebrows. Shinawatra admitted that it would normally take two to three months to prepare the prosecution case then a further few months before the case came to trial. Instead, the entire process, from arrest to conviction, will have been completed in little more than a week.

There have also been some worrying questions raised about the quality of the forensic evidence. Not long after Katherine's body was found, local television reports showed scores of ordinary Thai police officers walking around her. It is also not uncommon for forensic reports in Thailand to be wildly inaccurate.

Despite this, in an interview with The Observer, Voravate Vinitnatayanon, the chief of police for the Surat Thani province, insisted the investigation had been conducted thoroughly. Both men confessed quickly, he said. 'You must trust us. We have good forensic evidence and DNA.' He said initial criticism of the case was unfair. 'We did as much as we could. The case was very unusual. Things like this never happen here. That's why we put 100 officers on the case. We had a jigsaw puzzle to solve. This isn't Scotland Yard. In Thailand, we may do things differently, but it was still a very thorough investigation.'

As dusk crept around the edges of the island, the tourists on Lamai beach packed up their belongings and returned to their apartments. Two young British women remained. As the sun set, they stared out across the sea. Geckos sang and crickets chirped. It could have happened to one of them, or indeed to any young adventurous traveller. Katherine Horton did nothing wrong. As her father said, she felt immune to the dangers of the world, as we have all felt when we were young adults. Katherine Horton came to Thailand to dance on a beach, to ride an elephant. Tragically her faith in her fellow man let her down.Rachel Harrison and her friend Erin Sander, both 26, thought long and hard about coming to Koh Samui. The two friends from Derby had taken three months off work and already spent four weeks on the nearby island of Ko Pha-Ngan. They arrived at their beachside apartment on Thursday. 'It did feel a little eerie walking along the beach,' said Rachel. 'But these things can happen anywhere. We have had a wonderful time in Thailand. People have welcomed us into their homes and looked after us. This is awful for Katherine's family, and it is a tragic reminder of how careful travellers have to be and of how random and fragile life is.'

Erin agreed that it would not put her off travelling. 'I would never devalue what has happened. It's awful. But parents can't keep their children in a cocoon. They have to let them fly. You can't stay in the basement and be afraid to travel the world. There is too much in this world to see and explore and experience.'



#21 sriracha john

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Posted 2006-03-19 09:24:17

[quote name='Rooo' post='683384' date='2006-03-19 09:04:38'][quote name='sriracha john' post='683349' date='2006-03-19 08:24:18']
[quote name='Rooo' post='683327' date='2006-03-19 07:43:28']
[quote name='sriracha john' post='683325' date='2006-03-19 07:32:50']
[quote name='Rooo' post='683306' date='2006-03-19 07:00:34']
Sriracha, Tax's posts can be witty, but then it all goes back to rubbishing Samui when he doesn't even live here.Same as you Sriracha.We can all comment & have fun at certain things,sure there is ground for dissatisfaction wherever you go, but this is a fixation with some of you guys.As I said before, people can make their own minds up,they can do searches through the forum & I'm sure various opinions will manifest themselves.
I really don't see you going to any trouble searching for good pieces of news & posting them either,you seem to revel in posting doom & gloom in general .What stories have you posted in the positive to balance them out? None.So I let the others figure out your agenda.
Have a good life after you get one.[/quote]

One of the reasons that Tax's posts are so very witty is that they are so very true.

As for "balancing" Samui, there are plenty of other glossy brouchere-type posts pointing out all the wonderful and fabulous things about that paradise isle, so no need for others to add to it.

Sorry if the truth is intepreted by yourself as "doom & gloom"...

The truth and a "real" balance is my only "agenda".... if you care to point out anything erroneous or false that I've posted, feel free.
[/quote]


Real balance? Whatever Sriracha.
[/quote]

yes, real balance..

if there are only threads titled, "Lovely Haagen-Daaz Shop found on Chawaeng"... "Party At Toddy House Tonight" ... and "Poll To Ban Khun Jean From This Forum" "Samui Islandís Tourism Booming This Year" or anything posted by Lisa28..
.... then, the only concept that one can deduce from reading threads of Samui is that it is Utopia.

However, if you have threads that balance those with other aspects of life in this "Utopia"...such as "Another British Woman Raped On Koh Samui", "Bag Snatch And Muggings On Koh Samui", and "Craig Scott Murdered"

well...

then...

that's spelled, b-a-l-a-n-c-e.

[quote]Whatever Sriracha.[/quote]

whatever??? :D :D :o

phew.... thanks for at least not saying, "Talk to the hand, Sriracha"
[/quote]

:D :D :D Get a grip on life mate, these things happen everywhere.I will just let your posts & responses speak for themselves.

you fail to understand the concept of balance. Certainly the bad things happen everywhere... and so do many good things... happen ... everywhere. That's the whole point. You complain about someone writing about the bad things... and I complain about the persons for writing about the good things.... voila'... balance.

Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder,what suits you might not suit me.
now you're getting it...

What started on your side as a humourous posting, was turned into a Samui bashing session as usual.

Must say I'm a bit surprised you found bank robbery with guns as humourous?? :D

So tell me then , what is the use of anyone trying to post some positive things just to get ridiculed.

Or.... conversely, what is the use of posting any thing negative just to get ridiculed???

See Sriracha & Co ,I really think your AGENDA is to sabotage this Samui Forum & Samui in general.

that's right... we're the largest wholesale espionage company in SE Asia... we're paid directly from a Phuket slush fund for every negative Samui post :D :D

You are all entitled to your opinions,but it is now turning into an obsession .

I believe you thinking that it is turning into an obsession for me is an obsession in itself... :D

Let the others make their minds up,I have said my piece.Have a nice day.
From Roo & the HAND

Good... then you know what Roo?

we have achieved balance....

go enjoy your delusion... errrr... I mean paradise...

and I'll go enjoy mine.

p.s. I will always respect your 24 hour thaivisa seniority over me.

[/quote]

Edited by sriracha john, 2006-03-19 09:30:23.


#22 limbos

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Posted 2006-03-19 09:28:33

Tax exile,

You moved away from Samui, why don't you move away from this Samui Forum as well.

You whip out one of the most ridiculous pieces written about Samui ever. This article has been ripped to a few pieces already in the past on this forum.

Care to to tell me for instance where the 10.000 prostitutes are on this island, so nicely highlighted by you?

Don't get me wrong, sh1t happens everywhere and Samui gets it's share, especially with all the growing pains that are going on, however, as already pointed out, there are a few here that visit this forum that seem to have an obsession with all the negative things going on on Samui. You're definately one of them.

I don't know where you live right now in Thailand, but I bet you that a lot of things that you don't like about Samui are happening just around the corner from where you live now. You're probably not aware of it since it's a lot better disguised by the local Thais.

A lot of Samui's problem are not necessarily exclusive to Samui, maybe time to start realising that.

#23 Rooo

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Posted 2006-03-19 09:38:18

:D Thank you all, I'm off now to my delusional world, with my rose coloured glasses.You have succeeded in explaining to me Ying & Yang.I am going to have a drink now,see what you have done to me? :o :D :D
I am glad you respect your elders Sriracha.

Edited by Rooo, 2006-03-19 09:41:59.


#24 sriracha john

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Posted 2006-03-19 09:42:44

:D Thank you all, I'm off now to my delusional world, with my rose coloured glasses.You have succeeded in explaining to me Ying & Yang.I am going to have a drink now,see what you have done to me? :o :D :D
I am glad you respect your eders Sriracha.


yes, I'm always humble before senile... errr... I mean... senior... senior citizens.
Enjoy your beer..

:D

#25 taxexile

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Posted 2006-03-19 09:52:27

You moved away from Samui, why don't you move away from this Samui Forum as well.



no chance !!!

having too much fun here winding you lot up. :o





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