news (source) :
THAILAND offers a lot to draw us in. But what intrigues us most about the Southeast Asian country is quite morbid.
THAILAND is a fascinating place. It is one of the top destinations for Australian holiday-makers, with its unique cultural experiences, tropical beaches and delicious food.
But the most fascinating thing about Thailand is something far less wholesome. People are so intrigued by the sheer number of foreigners who die in the Southeast Asian country that there is a website dedicated to chronicling this morbid curiosity — Farang Deaths, which is a colloquial term for Westerners.
And it is seriously confronting stuff.
Thailand has topped the list for the most hospitalisations and deaths of Australian travellers overseas in the past year.
A report on Australia’s recent consular assistance, released by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), revealed that 196 Australians were hospitalised in the holiday hotspot in the financial year ending June 30, and 203 passed away.
The most recent cases reported on Farang Deaths includes everything from suicide, to heart attacks, to murder. In September, a 78-year-old German retiree was strangled to death in the Phuket home he shared with his 52-year-old Thai wife. She admitted to killing her husband during an argument in which she accused him of having an affair with another woman.
Speaking to Asian news publication Coconuts on the condition of anonymity, the founder of the website — who did confirm he was not Thai — said he started the project because he doesn’t believe that official statistics portray an accurate picture of the actual number of foreign deaths in Thailand.
“In February of this year, the Bureau of Prevention and Assistance in Tourist Fraud claimed that in 2015 only 83 tourists died, and 166 were injured. In the same month these numbers were published, I counted 39 deaths,” he told Coconuts.
“And that only includes cases that made the news or were submitted to Farang Deaths directly. These official statistics don’t even come close to the actual number of foreign deaths in Thailand.”
He said this is common behaviour by Thai officials.
“About 10 per cent of Thailand’s GDP comes from tourism revenue. That’s why headlines about foreigners dying under mysterious circumstances or jumping naked from the 7th floor only appear in Thai language news or are not reported at all, unless, of course, there is simply too much attention from foreign media as was the case with the Koh Tao murders in 2014.
“Instead of taking measures to make Thailand safer for tourists, those in charge regularly lie. I think people have the right to know.”
He also claimed that the Thai police often don’t investigate deaths thoroughly, so Farang Deaths provides details to those who are interested and allows them to draw their own conclusions.
“Whenever there is a death involving a foreigner, police are certain it was suicide before the body even arrives at the morgue. For some officers, suicide seems to be a convenient cause of death where no uncomfortable questions have to be answered.
“It’s no secret that the Thai police are doing an awful job when it comes to solving crimes. Sometimes, as in the case of Stephen Drewett, police are not investigating at all. Questioning this is more than legitimate.”