Negative Thai News 2002-2006

Bangkok takes a beating - August 18, 2006

CNN's Anderson Cooper 360: ...Law enforcement officials say John Mark Karr is a former school teacher. Arrested in Bangkok, Thailand, notorious for its sex trade and for child prostitution...
One of the things, obviously, everybody has been asking about here today has been the location, Thailand, a country known for a very active sex trade and a very active sex trade that involves very young children. Any hint from the authorities there about any connection to that with this man?...

CNN's Anderson Cooper 360: ...But it's a lot different arresting someone in Bangkok than it is in the United States. How can you even offer someone in Bangkok an American lawyer? They're not -- they're not -- there are not any of them over there...

CNN's evening newscast described the parading of the suspect by the Thai police as being reminiscent of Lee Harvey Oswald.

CNN Breaking News: Boulder DA: Ramsey murder suspect John Karr started working as second grade teacher in Thailand Tuesday
...Karr had begun working as second-grade teacher in Bangkok international school system on Tuesday, Lacy said...

Sicko bagged in Bangkok - New York Daily News, August 16, 2006 (Also: John Karr's resume)

And the ancillary stories:

Poverty, corruption in Asia helps sex trade thrive - CNN, August 17, 2006
It's a photo that has become a staple in the tabloids of Southeast Asia: the foreigner taken in by police after being caught in bed with a local boy or girl.
For many of the region's countries that derive huge sums of money from the tourism trade, it's a vivid illustration of its seamiest side -- child sexual exploitation...

The LA Times runs the same story with a slightly different headline: Child sexual exploitation thrives in Thailand, region

Bangkok known as center for sex industry
- Denver Post, August 17, 2006
Bangkok is a pedophile paradise with a lucrative child-sex industry.
"Certainly it's an attractive place for a pedophile who has the money to travel, so it follows the person who murdered JonBenet Ramsey would be attracted to Thailand both as a place to fulfill sexual desires and as a place to hide," said criminal justice Professor James Alan Fox of Northeastern University in Boston.
"If you know who you're looking for, that might be a place to look..."

The Daily News runs the same story, adding a bit to the headline: Thailand known for active sex trade, especially of kids

The JonBenet Suspect: A Loner's Life in Thailand - Time, August 17, 2006
John Mark Karr, 41, lived on the ninth floor of a rundown apartment building in a Bangkok district full of similarly rundown buildings and guest houses...

And the Fox News report about Thailand: 'Pedophile Paradise'? (link on the top right side of their front page)

"'s no surprise where he fled to..."
Sex is a "billion dollar industry in Bangkok"
"Washington Square in downtown Bangkok where sex is offered with kids..."
"The Entertainment Act of 1966 says that places where tourists come are exempt from banning prostitution..."
"Is the only reason someone is going to Bangkok Thailand is for the sex industry?
Well I'd hate to speculate on that and ruin Thailand's tourism industry in all together in one shot, John, but it is listed as the third place for child abuse and child sexual exploitation."
"The implication is that the Thai government doesn't care--it lets this happen."


Mobile phones 'warping cultural values' - The Nation, August 17, 2006
Thai cultural values have been warped, with half the population "dependent" on cell phones, the National Culture Commission said yesterday...
...The third "disease" was impatience and hot tempers caused by getting used to a instant connections and a response to orders. People become irritated over other things, even trivial events, in life.
...The last "dysfunction" was insincerity resulting from the nature of phone conversations, which are not face-to-face dealings. Users are prone to use overly sweet words or lies to convince the other party that they care about something, when they do not.
Amornrat said overuse of cell phones was also causing other problems. Ear disease, severe headaches and nerve disorders have become more common due to long exposure to the cell-phone's electromagnetic field.
Also, more and more peeping toms or exhibitionists are using phone cameras to shoot nude pics to be published on the Internet...

More "Bangkok takes a beating" - August 19, 2006

Thailand, Sex-Trade Capital? - ABC, August 18, 2006
"The way Wall Street is to finance — Bangkok is to pedophiles..."

Bangkok, Haven for Sex Offenders -, August 18, 2006
...John Mark Karr lived in central Bangkok, known for its massage parlors and sex tourism. The area fit Karr well, a known pedophile. Ann-Janette Alejano-Steele with the Polaris Project, an anti-human trafficking organization, says Thailand is a pedophile’s paradise.
“If you’re hiding and you’re a pedophile, certainly that’s going to be a place to hide partly because that lifestyle is acceptable.”
...LaRue says while the U.S. is not immune from pedophiles, our laws are intended to see that we don’t become another pedophile haven like Thailand.

John Mark Karr's Strange Life as a Teacher - Time, August 18, 2006
He moved from country to country and school to school, winding up in Thailand, where expatriate instructors have a special cachet...
But Thailand's headmasters, it seems, sweat not such details. In fact, at least one Thai school administrator thought Karr's variegated experience an asset...

Suspect's 'Lonely' Bangkok Life - LA Times, August 19, 2006
...Karr evidently spent much of his time in the dreary, claustrophobic room he rented at the Blooms Residences, one of the city's countless low-end boarding houses that target both budget travelers and long-term guests.
Situated on a quiet, narrow street in the city's bustling Sathon District, the building has a drab, salmon-colored exterior. Its facade is a honeycomb of small balconies and dirty windows, each with a small air conditioner jutting out of it. Guests can rent rooms for three hours, by the day or by the month. Only cash is accepted.
Karr paid about $225 a month for Room 1927, on the ninth floor. Little sunlight would have filtered through his window, which looks out onto another wing of the complex. From his tiny, rusted balcony, Karr could crane his neck to the right and watch Bangkok's choked traffic snake along a highway...

Still more "Bangkok takes a beating" - August 21, 2006

Investigators considered Karr 5 years ago - CHILD EXPLOITATION: Thailand known for lax enforcement - Chronicle Foreign Service, August 19, 2006
When John Mark Karr stepped out of his grungy room on Si Bamphen street, scents of grilled food wafted in Bangkok's humid air while coquettish male and female prostitutes paraded on the sidewalk.
Karr would have attracted little attention with his slight build in a neighborhood that caters to expatriate residents with outdoor cafes, massage parlors, budget travel agencies and seedy hotels...
He repeatedly came to this city of 6 million inhabitants, where expatriates enjoy a low cost of living and a don't-ask-don't-tell social etiquette that allows vice and discretion to flourish. Bangkok, which also attracts millions of visitors for its magnificent temples, markets and canals, is well known for sex tourism, drugs and street markets that sell fake documents...

JonBenet arrest raises Asian crime fears - AFP, August 18, 2006
The arrest in Bangkok of an American suspect in the decade-old JonBenet Ramsey murder case has again cast the spotlight on Thailand as a criminal hideaway, especially from sex charges overseas...
Child protection groups and criminal experts fear that Thailand's reputation as a haven where crimes go unpunished is attracting foreigners seeking a luxurious lifestyle while escaping justice.
...Barely a month goes by in Thailand without another arrest of a foreign sex offender or violent criminal.

Yet still more "Bangkok takes a beating" - August 22, 2006

Case puts seamier side of Thai tourism in the spotlight - USA Today, August 20, 2006
...The frenzy surrounding the deportation of American John Mark Karr dominated Thai TV and headlines over the weekend, the case a reminder of Thailand's struggle to shake its image as a magnet for foreign "sex tourists" and pedophiles...

JonBenet exposes Thai teaching flaws - BBC, August 19, 2006

The Quiet Farang - NYT, August 19, 2006
...Nit Dandin, a veteran teacher of the Thai language to Westerners, put it to me this way: “Why do farang come to Thailand after they kill or rape somebody in their own country?”...

English-language circuit in Asia begs for teachers, little screening - Canadian Press, August 20, 2006

And even The Nation: A perfect lure for paedophiles - The Nation, August 19, 2006 (We believe 2B must have given them the idea for this story...)

Will it ever end?: "Bangkok takes a beating" - August 24, 2006

Karr’s time as teacher in Bangkok under cloud - IHT, August 22, 2006
...A recent posting on the TEFL (Teachers of English as a Foreign Language) monitoring website said, “For anyone out there curious, Thai schools do not hire on a trial basis. All evidence suggests that John Karr worked long term at both establishments, at least several months,” and claimed the schools were “blatantly lying” to save face, adding that the issue is of serious concern for parents of children at schools across the country...

Thailand's smile hides multitude of sins - Boston Globe, August 22, 2006
To the millions of holidaymakers who flock there every year, Thailand is the "Land of Smiles," a picture-postcard paradise of white-sand beaches, tropical sun and exotic eastern charm.
But behind the relentlessly promoted tourist image lies a darker reality in which legendary hospitality also extends to less savory visitors -- from misfits and murderers, to perverts and pedophiles from across the globe.
..."If you think the meaning of life is riding a bike with a black-haired girl on the back and having a cheap beer, then this is definitely the place to be."

Exploiting the system, in the guise of 'ajarn' - Bangkok Post, August 23, 2006

[This article sounds like someone is pitching a screenplay or book...]

...And sometimes, you can find yourself sharing an office with Hannibal Lector.
...Just like the former US state senator who was repeatedly caught and convicted for drunk driving and beating his girlfriend. When he carried a loaded revolver into the state legislature he was finally expelled from office. At the height of his power, white racist supremacist and militia members rallied at his demagogic speeches against minorities and welfare recipients, but most recently he has found himself teaching English at a university in Thailand.
...I met him in a go-go bar in Phuket. It was the quip about the human race being a plague on the earth and that only through a systematic programme of racial purification would we survive as a species, that made me realise he was not on a mercy mission in the Third World.
He was last seen teaching a transsexual prostitute to sing the Star Spangled Banner in an area notorious for homosexual encounters with young men who had had a sex change operation in Bangkok.
Then there was the teacher at a prominent language school in Phuket, who was recently exposed as a confidante of Adolf Hitler's personal radiologist. At 85, he was old enough to have been around during the Third Reich and his imperious gait was chillingly resonant of high rank. He spoke German, Greek, Italian, Thai, French and English fluently, but his speciality was to craft letters for bar girls consisting of lies and half-truths to beguile mostly male Caucasian tourists out of their money.
I was once privy to a meeting he thought was private and observed him perform the customary Nazi military salute when he greeted a German friend. At first, I thought it was moment of historical parody, but then observed both men deliver the same Nazi salute to each other with triumphant, choreographed precision at their farewell.
He still teaches English today, helping young bar girls conjugate irregular verbs and writes letters while receiving an old age pension from the Italian government.
There was another teacher--an American, former Arizona patrol officer who, while working in Thailand, started to exhibit repressed aggression towards his students.
His violent outbursts and confrontations involved minor infractions of university regulations. He became obsessed with thwarting students from gaining unfair advantage by cheating, and spent hundreds of hours devising examinations that would challenge the ingenuity of students to anticipate the content of examination papers...

It never ends: "Bangkok takes a beating" - August 26, 2006

[Another farang pitching his novel deal...]
Why sex offenders thrive in Bangkok - Cheap Trick - New Republic, August 24, 2006
...Until I saw John's girlfriend, that is. One evening, I noticed John with his arm around a small Thai woman. He walked upstairs and I trailed behind, recovering from my workout. As he turned to enter his apartment, I glimpsed his lady's face--the face of a preteen girl.
...Sadly, Bangkok should have been one of the first places they looked. Political scientists often blame failed states like Afghanistan or Somalia for breeding terrorism and crime. But, in actuality, criminals prefer semi-failed states or cities, where you can live a good life without worrying too much about arrest. After all, who wants to live in Kabul or Mogadishu? No, Bangkok's combination of comfortable lifestyle, sophisticated financial institutions, endemic child poverty, and lax legal system make it perfect for fugitives, sex offenders, terrorists, and other deviants...

[And the moment the sex-change angle broke there has been a number of sex change articles. Years ago we wrote about this.]
Bangkok big for gender reassignment surgery - Between The Lines News, August 24, 2006

More: "Bangkok takes a beating" - August 28, 2006

The Bangkok attraction - Sex industry, anonymity abound where Karr lived - Denver Post, August 27, 2006
...Bangkok is a mash of unplanned neighborhoods, incessant traffic jams and choking air pollution. It's also a cosmopolitan metropolis with upscale shopping malls, towering buildings, Buddhist temples and a thriving sex industry.
Thais have a wink-and-smirk reaction to the sex trade, a billion-dollar industry that draws tourists from around the world...

[The Post examines the bad news phenomenon and even mentions this site.]
Thailand under a familiar glare - Bangkok Post, August 27, 2006, a locally run website, monitored the "bad news about Bangkok"and plucked and posted quotes from the worst of it...

The beat goes on: "Bangkok takes a beating" - September 4, 2006

The Dark Side of Sex in Bangkok
- Oh My News International, September 2, 2006
Thai children exposed to pedophiles and the lives of many women ruined
...Some tourists visit to sleep with as many partners as possible. Gay bars and clubs are popular. Pedophiles paying for the services of prostitutes are commonplace. Sex tour operators earn a lucrative income bringing men from the U.S. and Europe to Bangkok.
...A number of foreign teachers come to Thailand to party, and care little about their teaching jobs. Some of them have even started Web sites that critique Bangkok's nightlife. They rank the quality of whorehouses, offer tips on visiting go-go bars, and hold contests for the search for the best prostitute. Some hold chat forums to discuss their sexual exploits or the pros and cons of different strip clubs.
...Thailand has a high rate of sexually transmitted diseases, prostitutes are exploited, and a few suffer from insanity as their sexual obsessions grab hold of them. Yes, there is a dark side to sex, and it can be found in Bangkok.

Bangkok takes a beating: Bangkok, China?
[A true classic... a college "Opinion Colmnist" things Bangkok is in China!]

John Karr should be in China
- The Daily O'Collegian, August 30, 2006
...He needed the return ticket after a school in Bangkok fired him for “extreme strictness” with students and took the job in China after two failed relationships with minors, which led to his exile.
... But most importantly, law enforcement should have requested the Chinese hold Karr in custody until blood samples mailed to the U.S. matched blood taken from the crime scene.
The most recent development in the Ramsey case: no suspects, but we managed to bring back a pedophile to the U.S. who was destined to solitude in China. We should have left him to rot.

2003: Drug killings
2B monitors news on Thailand around the world and ever since the fuss over the threatened expulsions of foreign journalists early in 2002, the international press gleefully documented all the rotten-to-the-core Thai institutions. A second wave of negative news started after Thailand's drug killings began in 2003.

More withering criticism of the Thai government in the New York Times - May 24, 2003
The New York Times is carrying another harsh editorial about the drug war: ...News anchors announce the numbers "killed by other drug dealers" without skepticism. Foreign ambassadors at a meeting here expressed concern about the killings, but the leading daily newspaper's headline said they had given the campaign full support... Criticism has been met with abuse and intimidation. When a member of Thailand's National Human Rights Commission spoke to a United Nations group about the campaign, the prime minister called the action a "sickening" betrayal... Not surprisingly, no investigative journalist has dared to look closely at the killings.
The last time the NYT ran an editorial like this, the Thai ambassador in the U.N. wrote a response (Every unnatural death that occurred during police operations will be investigated.)

Thai Ambassador responds to NYT article - April 17, 2003
The Thai Ambassador to the U.N. sends a letter to the editor of the New York Times in response to an article on the drug killings (Every unnatural death that occurred during police operations will be investigated.) This is the article in question: NYT: "An extraordinary campaign of government-approved killings is under way in Thailand" (April 7, 2003). In rural areas and city slums, residents say they now stay indoors at night for fear of what have become known as "silent killings." The most dangerous thing, they say, is to answer a police summons to respond to an accusation of drug dealing. "Most of them got killed on the way back from the police office..."

Thailand mentioned in "Tyrants" editorial - New York Times, April 4, 2003
The New York Times writes about the world's tyrants, such as Castro's unprecedented crackdown on opposition in recent weeks as well as crackdowns in Zimbabwe and Belarus. Thailand is now routinely mentioned in such company: In Thailand, the government has justified what appear to be summary executions in the name of a war on drugs. At least 1,900 people have been killed, including innocent bystanders. These crackdowns, too, all passed with little notice or comment. That dictators move in times of world crisis comes as no surprise...

How others view the drug war - Los Angeles Times, March 24, 2003
As the highly popular drug war draws to a close, the LAT sums up: ...There have been several cases, like the deaths in Phetchabun, in which suspects have been killed in broad daylight minutes after leaving a police station, activists say... Some human rights activists fear a return to the ways of the military dictatorship that ruled Thailand from 1957 to 1973 and employed death squads to eliminate opponents...

May-August 2002

Rigging the Races - MSNBC, August 27, 2002
Thai horse racing is rigged. The industry, which is one of the biggest in Asia, stands alone in terms of corruption.

Security lapses at Don Muang - Bangkok Post, August 19, 2002
This is not international, but it was written by an international travel consultant--locals would not touch this subject. Anyone notice how they are no longer using security straps on x-rayed baggage?: Other airline officials said they believed that some of the security staff were working together on this. When the bags went through the X-ray machine, those with something worth stealing were secretly identified, such as by affixing the sticker somewhere else on the bag rather than where it should be affixed--along the zipper, on top of the lock/keyhole or along the mouth of the bag. The AAT managing director inspected this pilferage area last May. The former guard has also reportedly been arrested, but nothing was announced--in order to prevent embarrassment and more detailed questions about how he managed to get past security. Further information on this was not immediately available.

About Pantip Plaza - August 18, 2002
Ever wonder what it is like to live where copyright means nothing? Locals will already know about this, but if you don't know, this Yahoo article explains Pantip Plaza. A home edition of Windows XP software is sold in a legitimate shop on the second floor of Pantip at 9,000 baht. A few yards away, the copied program is offered at 130 baht.

Re-engineering the drug business - 09:28, June 22, 2002
Long New York Times article (free registration required) with details about how drugs move from Myanmar through Thailand...

Buying ivory in Thailand - BBC, 08:19, June 21, 2002
Many people wonder about this--ivory is openly for sale in many places.

Thai boiler rooms in the Aussie press - 08:18, June 21, 2002
Pas Seangsong of Bangkok Highrises mentioned how lately the Australian press has had lots of reports about Thai boiler rooms (...this story was on three TV channels yesterday. The Australian security finance commission is running a campaign to alert people here of cold caller business...). However, there has not been much at all in the local Thai press about it.

Thailand flooded by drugs - Christian Science Monitor, May 30, 2002
During the past year, Thailand's borders have been overrun by smugglers bringing in methamphetamines from Myanmar. The resulting unprecedented addiction has touched every level of Thai society. Now there's fear this plague could spread out into neighboring countries.

Thai Parliament Farked - 07:43, May 25, 2002 (one of the most popular sites on the web--it features links to anything interesting) has a link to an article from Reuters: "Thai parliament eternally damned, beset by ghosts, hellfire, monks with AK47s." I suppose this is how the rest of the world sees us.
For example: Chalerm Yoobamrung told parliament he had been visited in a dream by the ghost of Grandma Nuem, who asked him to try to right past wrongs.

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