Connect with us


Buried alive in Phuket: How much longer do we need to suffer the landslides?



PHUKET: Another rainy season in Phuket, and yet another death from a landslide. The trench collapse on Monday that killed Burmese laborer Min Hla Thein came just nine days after new workplace ‘health and safety’ legislation came into effect.

[See news feature, pages 4-5, current issue of the Phuket Gazette. Digital subscribers click here to download the full newspaper.]

Among the main aims of the new regulations is to make companies legally liable for not following safety requirements laid down by law and company policy.

Anyone in the construction industry would not have to look far to discover that when digging trenches in questionable earth, the first priority is to reinforce the walls to ensure that workers are not crushed by a cave-in.

Whether the lack of reinforcement of the trench walls will be unearthed by the “investigation” into this latest incident remains to be seen, but the news of another landslide death should not have come as a surprise. Phuket’s safety record in this regard speaks for itself.

Last year, project foreman Thawisak Nukaeo and a laborer identified only as “Neung” died while – in a bitter irony – they were building a retaining wall for a resort under construction on Soi Sang Krasee off Nanai Road in Patong.

The other worker caught by the landslide, identified only as “Sorn”, escaped death but was rushed to hospital for serious injuries.

In 2008, three Burmese were crushed by a landslide at a construction site on 50 Pi Road.

In 2007, a landslide off Nanai Rd left buildings hanging precariously while smothering a Burmese laborers’ camp below and trapping an 18-month-old child. Luckily, no one was killed in that incident.

Earlier this month guests and staff at the Orchidee Residences in Patong escaped almost certain death when boulders hurtled down from a road construction project high in the hills above them, crashing into the building, uprooting trees and bringing down countless tons of earth.

And just this week, several tumbling boulders threatened Orchidee and its occupants once again, the rocks having originated – again – from the very same construction site. [See story here.]

And all this follows year after year of public warnings and “landslide preparedness” training exercises. How much more warning do we need to stop the construction site carelessness?

One common denominator throughout all these landslides over the years is that the first to suffer are inevitably Phuket’s ubiquitous Burmese workers, the unsung heroes of the island’s construction boom.

But at least this year there’s something new: We have a person’s name to report, not just a nickname or a no-name somebody who paid with his or her life for helping to develop a “Greater Phuket”.

Perhaps now with a new death fresh in people’s minds, contractors might exercise more caution. The least they can do is to build the retaining walls and any other reinforcement barriers first and get on with the rest of the work thereafter.

Whether the island’s developers and contractors will start doing this as an “industry standard” remains to be seen, as does the matter of enforcement of the new regulations.


Get more from The Thaiger

Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Follow Thaiger by email:

Guides6 hours ago

Foodie Zone: Where to get vegan desserts in Bangkok 2022

Thailand7 hours ago

Thailand News Today | 36 dead in a mass shooting at a nursery in northeast Thailand

Guides7 hours ago

5 best wine bars in Bangkok offering rich and quality wine

Sponsored13 hours ago

Segafredo Zanetti Coffee teamed up with Bangkok Airways and hosted “Bangkok Airways Surf Festival 2022”

North East7 hours ago

Hip businesses in northeast Thai province offer tasty food and fun experiences

Crime7 hours ago

British CEO arrested at Bangkok Airport over 40 million baht fraud accusations

Thailand7 hours ago

Thailand’s 5 national parks raise entry fees for foreigners by 100%

Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Bangkok8 hours ago

Ari around invites Ari people to share good deeds through the app.

Press Room8 hours ago

Where to order cannabis/weed in Thailand

Chon Buri8 hours ago

Trouserless Chon Buri man crashes car into power pole

Entertainment8 hours ago

‘The Trapped 13’ lets Wild Boars speak for themselves

Thailand8 hours ago

Reported Bangkok VIP casino vanishes into thin air

World9 hours ago

Australia sets goal of preventing any more species from going extinct

Crime9 hours ago

Mass shooting in Thailand: 36 dead, including 24 children, 12 injured

Thailand9 hours ago

9 Thais arrested in South Korea for smuggling drugs

Drugs9 hours ago

Police snag 2.5 meth pills in checkpoint stings

Thailand1 year ago

Morning Top Stories Thailand | Police to end protests, Human Trafficking | September 14

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism2 years ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism2 years ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism2 years ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11