Thai murder reveals dark side of paradise

Thai murder reveals dark side of paradise - The Observer, January 15, 2006
...'Koh Samui and Phangan have changed over the past five years, and crime is a growing problem,' says Joe Bindloss, author of Lonely Planet's guide to Thailand's islands and beaches. 'Drugs have always been there, but with more tourists has come an increase in demand. Over the past few years cheap, dangerous drugs have come in from China and foreigners have had mental health problems after taking dodgy batches.'
Last June, Koh Samui and Koh Phangan were listed by Justice Minister Suwat Liptapanlop as two of three districts in the southern province of Surat Thani facing a rapid spread of drugs. He said the return of tourists following the 2004 tsunami had attracted drug dealers and intensified the islands' problems.
While the government made Koh Samui the focus of an initiative to tackle drug use in tourist spots in June, it has been notoriously bad at dealing with the issue. 'Basically the police operated a shoot to kill policy,' says Bindloss. Around 2,000 people, mainly gangsters and dealers, were killed by police, drug prices shot up and many addicts were driven to crime to pay for their fixes...
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