Connect with us


Phuket 2012: Crimes take center stage

Legacy Phuket Gazette



Phuket 2012: Crimes take center stage | The Thaiger
  • follow us in feedly


PHUKET: There were many high-profile crimes on Phuket in 2012. Perhaps none horrified the audience of the world as much as killing of Australian tourist Michelle Smith, 60. Mrs Smith, a travel agent, died from stab wounds after two men tried to steal her handbag and she fought back.

Her assailants, Surasak Suwannachote and Surin Tadthong, were apprehended, tried and sentenced to life in prison less than a month after the killing, which was caught on CCTV.

Ten days earlier Australian national Stevie Bamford reported to police that she had been sexually assaulted by tuk-tuk drivers in Patong, but subsequent review of CCTV images by police revealed holes in her story.

She later signed a confession saying she had made up the story after a fight with her boyfriend, served a 15-day sentence in Phuket’s minimum security prison and was then deported.

However, she enraged Australian diplomatic officials later in the year when she appeared on the Australian show Today Tonight claiming that an attack did occur and that she was advised by Aussie diplomats to lie about what really happened. She did admit that she was drunk at the time and that the night’s events had been “a bit of a blur”.

However, the year of high-profile crime started just weeks into 2012, when on January 12 the well-known investigative reporter Wisut “Ae Inside” Tangwitthayaporn was assassinated by two men on a motorbike in a shooting ambush in broad daylight on Thepkrasattri Road in Rassada.

Police soon issued four warrants in the case and made two arrests. The first was of alleged driver Noppadol Praisri on January 14. Then, in mid-February, alleged mastermind Atsadakorn “Pod” Seedokbuab, owner of KPP Cable TV, turned himself in after negotiations with police. He claimed innocence, saying he was unaware of the charges against him because he was away in Burma on business.

Two other suspects, including the shooter, remain at large.

On the last day of February, Norweigian expat Stein Havard Dokset was arrested in his villa in Kata and charged with the murder of his late girlfriend Rungnapa Suktong, whose remains were found dissolving in an acid bath inside the home.

Mr Dokset later admitted to accidentally killing Ms Rungnapa in a fit of jealous rage after she left him for a Patong policeman.

In early July, 17-year-old Sunisa “Nong Som” Saiyoy was sexually assaulted and murdered in her home in a quiet suburb in Wichit. Some fine detective work led to the quick arrest and confession of Kittikhun Wonghajak, a serial thief who was high on methamphetamine when he entered the home with intent to commit robbery.

Ms Sunisa, who had an acute fear of strangers, was suffering from depression and happened to be home alone that day. Kittikhun told police that when he saw Nong Som alone, he “decided” to sexually assault her and accidentally suffocated her with a pillow.

It took scores of security personnel to keep a large crowd from lynching the suspect during a re-enactment of the crime carried out in front of the victim’s home.

Mr Kittikhun is expected to spend the rest of his life in prison.

In late July, Chalong Police arrested Belgian Marc de Schutter, described as one of the most wanted European criminals. Mr de Schutter was wanted for murder, money laundering and economic crimes in his native Belgium. He was quickly deported to face charges there.

On December 1, murder suspect Lee “The Pitbull” Aldhouse arrived at Phuket International Airport after extradition from his native Britain to face charges for the August 2010 stabbing murder of Dashawn Longfellow, a former US Marine.

Aldhouse, a muay Thai fighter, successfully fled Thailand after the murder, but was later arrested at Heathrow Airport on an unrelated charge. His extradition was reportedly the first of a UK national to Thailand since a treaty was signed 101 years ago.

— Stephen Fein

Keep in contact with The Thaiger by following our Facebook page.

Read more headlines, reports & breaking news in Phuket. Or catch up on your Thailand news.

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

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Phuket officials visit Kamala restaurant after customer charged 6,750 baht

Maya Taylor



Phuket officials visit Kamala restaurant after customer charged 6,750 baht | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Facebook/ Lalita Chaiyasit

A seafood restaurant in Kamala, a west coast town in Phuket, has received strong criticism on social media after trying to charge a customer 6,750 baht for a takeaway meal. 3,000 baht of the bill was a “cooking fee”. Lalita Chaiyasit took to social media to vent her disbelief after receiving the bill. She says she was on holiday with her family in Phuket and wanted to order some food for delivery to their hotel. At the recommendation of their tour guide, she chose the Nanork Restaurant in Kamala, sending the tour guide to pick up the food. A report […]

Continue Reading


Phuket’s Lard Yai Sunday night market springs back to life

The Thaiger



Phuket’s Lard Yai Sunday night market springs back to life | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Lard Yai springs back to life - Phuket People's Voice

The Lard Yai Sunday night walking street along Thalang Road Old Phuket Town has reopened to the delight of vendors, locals and a few expats. It has been closed for 3 months after lockdowns were applied to community markets. New Provincial Governor Narong Woonchiew says he welcomes people back to the popular market. “The province and the private sector have worked hard to make sure Lardyai walking street is safe and complies with social distancing practices to regain tourists’ confidence.” Lard Yai, a fairly recent addition to Phuket’s vibrant market scene (about 4 years ago), became an instant success in […]

Continue Reading


Two years ago – remembering Phuket’s Phoenix boat tragedy

The Thaiger



Two years ago – remembering Phuket’s Phoenix boat tragedy | The Thaiger

“There were 13 children that died in this disaster. Many were later found dead, floating face down, not far from their deceased parents.” On an otherwise ordinary afternoon, two tour boats, Phoenix and Serenata, were heading back to Phuket after a half day tour of snorkelling near Koh Racha. The weather forecast was for seasonal monsoonal SW winds and waves, about the usual for that time of the year. But there was also a weather warning for a storm later in the afternoon of July 5, 2018. For whatever reasons the captains of the two vessels started heading back to […]

Continue Reading