UK cautions citizens after Pha-ngan killing

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BANGKOK: -- The British ambassador has warned his countrymen to exercise caution when travelling in Thailand, following the killing of a British tourist by a stray bullet at a New Year's beach party on the popular island of Pha-ngan.

"There are risks in going anywhere and I think Thailand is certainly not completely trouble-free," Mark Kent said in an interview with UK-based Sky News on Tuesday night.

He urged British tourists to check out the travel advice on the embassy's website.

However, the embassy has not issued any statement about the matter.

Kent tweeted to The Nation yesterday that he would go to Surat Thani today and meet with local authorities.

The victim's parents will travel from England to Pha-ngan to take custody of their son's body, according to Pha-ngan police, who were informed about their arrival by the British Embassy.

Stockbroker Stephen Ashton, 22, was killed when a Thai man opened fire during a bar brawl in the early hours of Tuesday. The Brit was shot accidentally while dancing and was pronounced dead at a hospital.

Ekkapun Klaewkla, 26, who was arrested hours after the shooting, was taken to the scene by police for re-enactment of the crime but it was washed out by rain.

The suspect confessed to firing the fatal shot, telling police his group was outnumbered by its rivals during a fight so he decided to use his home-made gun to protect himself.

KORNCHANOK RAKSASERI,
SOMCHAI SAMART
THE NATION

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