Hot! Thai Authorities Declare “Gun-Free” Zones

Gun Control After Brit's Death On Koh Phangan

The death of a British tourist on New Year’s Eve has compelled Thai authorities to issue restrictions on firearms in tourist spots in the Surat Thani province.

Stephen Ashton, 22, was unintentionally shot with a homemade gun, reports Bangkok Post, while partying with his friends at a bar on Koh Phangan. The conflict was allegedly between two rival Thai gangs; Ashton was caught in the crossfire.

As a result, Surat Thani Governor Chatpong Chatphut on Thursday promised to implement strict firearms control measures, converting tourist spots and entertainment venues into “gun-free” zones. The measures include both Koh Samui and Koh Phangan. AsiaPacific Travel Daily News reports that the procedure will take a year, “as the police will have to confiscate weapons and stop renewing gun owners’ licences.”

The UK Foreign Office updated their travel advisory for Thailand, although their advice has not changed. The Embassy strongly advises against travel to nearby border areas, and urges British nationals to exercise caution when in tourist areas like Koh Phangan, stating that, “Western tourists have been victims of vicious, unprovoked attacks by gangs in Koh Phangan,” and “seven British nationals have been murdered in Thailand since January 2009.”


Flickr photo courtesy of cmiked

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