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Scotland: Keep Up With Events As They Unfold

Written By andika jamanta on Kamis, 18 September 2014 | 20.48

Decision Day For Scotland: Voters Go To Polls

Updated: 1:46pm UK, Thursday 18 September 2014

People in Scotland are voting on whether the country should stay in the UK or become an independent nation.

Polling stations opened at 7am and people have until 10pm to cast their ballot, with the result expected to be known by breakfast time tomorrow.

Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond voted at Ritchie Hall polling station in Strichen, Aberdeenshire, two hours after polls opened.

Mr Salmond, leading the Yes campaign, was joined by two first-time voters, 18-year-old Natasha McDonald and Lea Pirie, 28.

He gave both women a soft Yes toy as a mascot for their vote and the trio stopped for pictures on their way in.

Despite long days of campaigning, the First Minister said he managed to get a good rest on the eve of the vote.

Former Chancellor and leader of the Better Together campaign Alistair Darling was photographed with his wife Maggie and No campaigners in Edinburgh.

He was booed by some, but cheered by others, as he arrived at the polling station at the Church Hill Theatre in Edinburgh.

He told reporters: "It's been a long, hard two-and-a-half year campaign, passions have been aroused on both sides, and understandably so because we are talking about the biggest single decision that any of us will ever take in our lifetime."

Former PM Gordon Brown arrived at the polling station at North Queensferry Community Centre, Fife, to cast his vote.

He shook hands with No campaign supporters, as well as one Yes voter, who were waiting for him in the mist.

After casting her vote, Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon tweeted: "I've just voted #Yes to Scotland becoming an independent country. What a wonderful feeling."

Elsewhere, queues formed outside polling stations across the country from early morning as turnout was expected to be as high as 90%.

There was an alleged assault at a polling station in Clydebank, a few miles northwest of Glasgow. Police arrested a 44-year-old man over the incident in Faifley Road at 8.30am.

More than 2,600 schools, sports centres and local halls have opened their doors to voters.

Four million voters are being asked a simple question: "Should Scotland be an independent country?"

A Yes vote at the end of a hard-fought campaign will bring an end to the Union of the United Kingdom that has stood for 307 years.

After the polls close tonight, counting of the votes takes place at 32 regional centres all over Scotland.

Then, once each result is in, the numbers will be sent to the main counting centre in Edinburgh.

The earliest declarations, at around 2am on Friday, will include North Lanarkshire, Orkney, East Lothian and Perth and Kinross.

The latest, at 6am, is expected to be Aberdeen. Dundee is expected at 3am and Edinburgh and Glasgow at 5am.

:: Watch live: Scottish referendum coverage from 9pm on Sky News Sky 501, Virgin Media 602, Freesat 202, Freeview 132.

:: Live coverage is also available on sky.com/news and Sky News for iPad and on your mobile phone.


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Alice Gross Suspect 'Is Convicted Murderer'

A builder that police are looking for in connection with the disappearance of Alice Gross has a murder conviction in his native country, police have said.

Police have now named Arnis Zalkalns as a suspect, and revealed that as well as the murder conviction in Latvia in 1998, he was previously arrested in London over an indecent assault on a young girl, but was never charged.

The 41-year-old was caught on CCTV cycling along the path where Alice was last seen, and Scotland Yard have been urging him to come forward.

Forensic officers have been searching Zalkalns' house in Ealing, west London, but the Metropolitan Police has stressed it has no leads to suggest she has died.

Search for Alice Gross The police have been scouring the area where Alice was last seen alive

Zalkalns has not accessed his bank account or used his mobile phone since September 3, and has not returned home since this date.

At a news conference, investigators confirmed it may be possible that someone is helping the convicted murderer, who served seven years in a Latvian jail, by providing him with money or somewhere to stay.

Missing Alice Gross Alice Gross walked by a canal shortly before Zalkalns used the same route

Detective Superintendent Carl Mehta, from the Met's Homicide and Major Crime Command, added: "This is not a murder inquiry in the sense that we don't have evidence or information to say that Alice is not alive."

It is thought Zalkalns has been in the UK since 2007 - however, he left his passport at home in Ealing when he went missing two weeks ago.

Police have warned the man "clearly poses a risk to the public". Anyone who sees him is asked not to approach him.

MOTHER OF ALICE GROSS ROSALIND HODGKISS Alice's mother, Rosalind Hodgkiss, has appealed for help. Pic: Crimewatch

Meanwhile, the Latvian Embassy has released a statement to confirm that Zalkalns has not contacted them, and to insist that they have no information on his whereabouts.

So far, there is no evidence to suggest that Alice and Zalkalns knew each other.

A reward of £20,000 is being offered to anyone who has information that leads detectives to find the teenager, who was last seen walking along the Grand Union Canal in west London.


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Decision Day For Scotland: Voters Go To Polls

People in Scotland are voting on whether the country should stay in the UK or become an independent nation.

Polling stations opened at 7am and people have until 10pm to cast their ballot, with the result expected to be known by breakfast time tomorrow.

Scottish referendum decision time promo

Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond voted at Ritchie Hall polling station in Strichen, Aberdeenshire, two hours after polls opened.

Mr Salmond, leading the Yes campaign, was joined by two first-time voters, 18-year-old Natasha McDonald and Lea Pirie, 28.

He gave both women a soft Yes toy as a mascot for their vote and the trio stopped for pictures on their way in.

Alex Salmond Alex Salmond outside a polling station in Aberdeenshire

Despite long days of campaigning, the First Minister said he managed to get a good rest on the eve of the vote.

Former Chancellor and leader of the Better Together campaign Alistair Darling was photographed with his wife Maggie and No campaigners in Edinburgh.

He was booed by some, but cheered by others, as he arrived at the polling station at the Church Hill Theatre in Edinburgh.

Voters queue in Glasgow Voters queue in Glasgow

He told reporters: "It's been a long, hard two-and-a-half year campaign, passions have been aroused on both sides, and understandably so because we are talking about the biggest single decision that any of us will ever take in our lifetime."

Former PM Gordon Brown arrived at the polling station at North Queensferry Community Centre, Fife, to cast his vote.

He shook hands with No campaign supporters, as well as one Yes voter, who were waiting for him in the mist.

Alistair Darling Better Together campaigner Alistair Darling with wife Maggie in Edinburgh

After casting her vote, Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon tweeted: "I've just voted #Yes to Scotland becoming an independent country. What a wonderful feeling."

Elsewhere, queues formed outside polling stations across the country from early morning as turnout was expected to be as high as 90%.

There was an alleged assault at a polling station in Clydebank, a few miles northwest of Glasgow. Police arrested a 44-year-old man over the incident in Faifley Road at 8.30am.

Gordon Brown Gordon Brown outside a polling station in Fife

More than 2,600 schools, sports centres and local halls have opened their doors to voters.

Four million voters are being asked a simple question: "Should Scotland be an independent country?"

A Yes vote at the end of a hard-fought campaign will bring an end to the Union of the United Kingdom that has stood for 307 years.

Decision time Scotland

After the polls close tonight, counting of the votes takes place at 32 regional centres all over Scotland.

Then, once each result is in, the numbers will be sent to the main counting centre in Edinburgh.

The earliest declarations, at around 2am on Friday, will include North Lanarkshire, Orkney, East Lothian and Perth and Kinross.

The latest, at 6am, is expected to be Aberdeen. Dundee is expected at 3am and Edinburgh and Glasgow at 5am.

:: Watch live: Scottish referendum coverage from 9pm on Sky News Sky 501, Virgin Media 602, Freesat 202, Freeview 132.

:: Live coverage is also available on sky.com/news and Sky News for iPad and on your mobile phone.


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Honeymoon Briton Killed In Jet Ski Crash

A British man has been killed in a jet ski crash two days into his honeymoon in Santorini, Greek police have said.

The 39-year-old, who has not been named, is thought to have been rammed into by another apparently British jet skier.

He was picked up by coast guard crews, who ordered an emergency airlift to the nearby island of Crete.

The man died of severe head and chest injuries before arriving at hospital.

Greek authorities said the owner of the water sports rental was arrested along with a 29-year-old Briton - a friend of the groom.

The Brit was detained at the airport.

Both of the accused are due to appear before a state prosecutor on the island of Naxos on Friday.

Authorities have refused to disclose details of the Britons.

Coast guard have launched an investigation into the deadly accident. They expect the Briton to be charged with negligent homicide.

The Foreign Office are looking into the apparent killing.

More follows...


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Brown Urges Scottish 'Patriots' To Vote 'No'

Written By andika jamanta on Rabu, 17 September 2014 | 20.48

What Happens If Scotland Leaves The Union?

Updated: 2:00pm UK, Tuesday 09 September 2014

Supporters of both sides of the Scotland referendum debate are mounting a final push for votes before the ballot on September 18. Sky News looks at what will happen if Scotland votes Yes to exit the UK:

:: 1.  When would Scotland become independent?

The Scottish Government has set a date 18 months from now, March 24, 2016, for Scotland's independence day.

:: 2. What would happen immediately after a Yes vote?

The first step on the morning after the result comes in would involve the forming of teams from both the Yes and No camps to take part in behind-the-scenes negotiations. SNP leader Alex Salmond has already indicated his deputy Nicola Sturgeon would lead the talks for the Scottish nationalists. It is not yet known who would spearhead the Westminster team.

:: 3. What amendments would there be to the constitution?

The negotiating teams would devise a new constitution for Scotland and dissolve the 1707 Act Of Union.

:: 4. What would happen to the Queen?

The Yes campaign has said Her Majesty would stay as monarch so it would not be surprising if Mr Salmond seeks an audience with the Queen in the days and weeks after the vote.

:: 5. Would Scotland take part in the May 2015 General Election?

Scottish voters would still be able to take part, but their representatives would only potentially serve a 10-month term in office.

:: 6. What currency would Scotland use?

That is still being thrashed out and yet to be decided. The three main Westminster parties - the Conservatives, Labour and the Liberal Democrats - have ruled out a currency union, although Mr Salmond insists an independent Scotland would keep the pound.

:: 7. How much of the UK national debt would be transferred to Scotland?

This is not yet known, but it is likely to be worked out on a per capita share - based on population.

:: 8. What would happen to Scotland's standing in global affairs?

Scotland would have to negotiate its own entry into the European Union and Nato, and the population would have to decide whether they want to have the euro.

:: 9. What effect would independence have on Scotland's defence force?

The issue of defence is probably one of the most emotive - and uncertain. Scotland is likely to have its own independent defence force, in time, depending on practicalities and finances, for it has its North Sea oil and fishing industries to protect. Scottish nationalists are opposed to having the Trident nuclear deterrent and would want to see it removed from Faslane, on the west coast of Scotland, as soon as possible. However, Nato is fundamentally a nuclear alliance, and if Scotland struggles to become a member of Nato, it is likely to struggle to join the EU too, which would have a big impact on the Scottish economy. There is also the matter of service personnel - some of which will be currently serving in historic English regiments. Any division of troops north and south of the border would take years.

:: 10. What would independence mean in terms of travelling across the Scotland-England border?

An independent Scotland would control its own borders. The SNP would like to see an open border, but Home Secretary Theresa May has already warned she will not allow Scotland to be used as a back door for immigrants getting into England if Scotland adopts a looser immigration policy. So, we could see passport controls on the border between the two countries.

:: 11. Would Scottish citizens need new passports?

A lot depends on whether Scotland joins the EU. Scottish citizens would be entitled to a Scottish passport, but a UK passport would still be valid until it expires. British citizens who were habitual residents in Scotland would be automatically considered Scottish citizens.

:: 12. What would happen to benefits and taxes?

Benefits and taxes will become the responsibility of the new Scottish government. In its white paper on Scotland's independence it says the Scottish Parliament will ensure that the personal tax allowance and tax credits increase in line with inflation.


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Wearing A 'No' T-Shirt In Scotland's 'Yes City'

How Facebook Shaped The Referendum

Updated: 8:27am UK, Tuesday 16 September 2014

By James Matthews, Scotland Correspondent

It's Facebook 'wot might win it.

Sure, the August poll surge in support for independence was down, in part, to traditional campaigning. Meetings and megaphones have thrust the Yes campaign "in yer face" over years leading up to Thursday.

But why, according to the opinion polls, did it all seem to come together in the space of a few weeks? Why, suddenly, the knife-edge?

In the word of a senior Yes strategist: Facebook.

I chatted to him as the Alex Salmond Labour Heartland tour rolled up at its latest venue, playing to the target market through the TV cameras. It was a big, well-attended, photo-call - the staple diet of the political campaign.

As the strategist stood back from the madding crowd, he told me that the magic formula didn't lie in the blood and snotters of a mass media scrum, but in the quiet exploitation of social media. Facebook, in particular.

The challenge for supporters of Scottish independence, historically, has been in turning it from a fringe notion into something people allow themselves to contemplate. Check their election success at the Scottish Parliament to see the considerable style with which that's been accomplished.

Scots have taken the hop and a step. Why, now, might they be shaping to take the jump? 

The Yes strategist pinned it on Facebook.

"Ask yourself," he said, to paraphrase him, "if a parent wants to check on their youngster who's on a night out, what do they do?  They don't phone them, because they probably won't answer.

"They might text ... but, invariably, they'll Facebook them. And when they do, dozens or hundreds of their friends will see it. It's a chat network that plugs people into the other people they value. There are no better opinion-formers for someone than the friends and family they like and trust.

"So, as a campaigning tool, it's been very effective. We encourage Yes supporters to spread the word to their Facebook friends and, over time, you build a network around people that builds a political case.

"Facebook is more effective than Twitter. You put something on Twitter and you reach people within the political bubble. With Facebook, you tap into a far bigger community."

So why the spike in support for Yes after polls that had No with a consistent and strong lead over the course of a two and a half year campaign?

"People just didn't turn their mind to the referendum until it actually came round. It's been in the far distance for most of the campaign but, now that people realise they're getting to decision time, large numbers are now weighing up the arguments ... and they're deciding having had their views on independence softened by Facebook friends."

There were more than 10 million referendum-related interactions on Facebook in the five weeks to September 8 - 85% of which was from Scotland.

He said he reckoned the Yes campaign had been four or five times more active than their opponents on Facebook and pointed out a Facebook chat with Scotland's pro-independence First Minister Alex Salmond attracted around 5,000 questions.

Data suggests the Yes campaign is slightly in the lead with 2.05 interactions in Scotland compared to 1.96 million for the no campaign.

The strategist said the campaigning beauty of social media was that it eliminated the need to rely on mainstream media coverage, that the likes of Facebook cut out the middle man and enabled them to reach out to the voter directly.

Just how many the campaign has touched and what effect it has had, we'll find out soon enough.


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Sky Poll: Scots Unclear Over No Vote Powers

PM May Regret 'Double Or Quits' Scot Gamble

Updated: 7:06am UK, Wednesday 17 September 2014

By Anushka Asthana, Political Correspondent

If David Cameron has any regrets on the eve of the final day of campaigning in the Scottish referendum, one might centre on the terms he negotiated for this historic vote.

After all, polls suggest that the largest group of Scots did not want to choose "Yes" or "No". Instead, they would have been happy with a third option, so-called "Devo-Max".

But the Prime Minister, not keen on handing over more devolution, decided to play double or quits.

He made the contest a straight choice - presumably confident that it would result in the outcome that he wanted.

Now there is a chance that his gamble may not pay off.

What no one expected months ago, when the No campaign had a 22-point lead, was a race that would be described in its final days as being on a knife-edge.

But that is what Mr Cameron is now faced with.

And it explains why he, along with Labour leader Ed Miliband, and Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg, have put a big new offer on the table for Scottish voters.

An offer that devolves more powers to the country, and is being received by many of its newspapers as the "Devo-Max" the Prime Minister originally rejected.

The Daily Record, for example, says the choice is now between a "No" vote that means Scotland and the UK are changed forever, or a "Yes" vote that ends Britain.

Offering that new choice leaves Mr Cameron facing a potential backlash in England among MPs who feel his promise gives their constituents an unfair deal.

He did it because the stakes are high, with the Prime Minister's job under threat if he loses this vote.

That is why on Monday, instead of bowing to calls to recall Parliament to discuss the murder of a British hostage in the Middle East, he travelled to Aberdeen to love-bomb Scotland.

Mr Cameron said he would be "heartbroken" if the UK was divided, telling Scots he knew they did not like him but he would not be around forever.

But if the stakes are high for the Conservative leader, they are arguably higher for his Labour counterpart, who faces losing dozens of MPs and the hope of future majorities.

That is why Ed Miliband will be north of the border from now until after the vote.

As for Mr Clegg, an independent Scotland would lose him one fifth of his Parliamentary party.

Yet their challenge remains a steep one - a Yes campaign that has energy and momentum, and which has already persuaded a large proportion of Scots to change their mind.

Alex Salmond enters these final 24 hours with his life-long dream of independence in touching distance.

And remember, no one expected it to be this close.

If he just misses out, he will still be able to argue that his campaign pushed the opposition into placing on offer on the table with many more powers for the Scottish people.

With one day to go, Mr Salmond is, arguably, facing a win-win situation.


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Thai Police Question Brothers Over Beach Murders

Two British brothers are being questioned over the murders of two backpackers in Thailand as tests revealed more about how the victims died.

Chris Ware and his brother James, from Jersey, have been asked to stay in Thailand as experts wait for the results of DNA tests.

Chris Ware Chris Ware being interviewed by Thai police

The brothers were questioned as police continued to detain six Burmese suspects with alleged links to the deaths.

Police Colonel Kissana, deputy Thai police spokesman, said there was "strong evidence" linking the Burmese suspects to the murders, including blood stains on clothes.

"DNA tests are being completed and we should hopefully have a report tomorrow." Kissana said.

"We also have two British suspects but they have not been detained. We cannot rule them out. They were close friends and knew all about the victims.

Suspect seen on CCTV Police want to trace a man of Asian appearance caught on CCTV

"We have got to do whatever it takes to obtain concrete evidence."

The developments came as forensic experts revealed that David Miller died from drowning and a blow to the head. Hannah Witheridge died from head wounds. 

Pornchai Sutheerakune, head of the Thai Institute of Forensic Medicine, said Mr Miller also had wounds on his hand, indicating a struggle had taken place.

Sky's Jonathan Samuels, on Koh Tao, where the murders happened, said Chris Ware has been spoken to by police after he booked into a hotel at Bangkok airport.

Koh Tao island Koh Tao is one of Thailand's most popular backpacker islands

It is the second time he has been questioned by officers.

He was initially questioned in the hours after the murders by officers who were concerned about an injury to his arm.

Police were satisfied with Mr Ware's explanation and he was told he was free to go, but officers later caught up with him in Bangkok to speak to him again. 

"Once we receive the physical examination report, including a DNA test, we will be able to determine if he was involved in the incident," a police officer said.

Samuels said James Ware had also spoken to police.

File image of a beach on Koh Tao island, Thailand Police say there had been a beach party in the hours before the murders

The semi-naked bodies of Mr Miller, 24, and 23-year-old Miss Witheridge were discovered on a beach early on Monday.

Police said the pair sustained horrific injuries, with both suffering deep wounds to the head and face.

A bloodstained garden hoe, believed to be the murder weapon, was found near to the bodies.

Samuels said it was understood Chris Ware was a friend of Mr Miller's.

Friends and family pay tribute to British duo David Miller and Hannah Witheridge as CCTV points police to migrant workers. Tributes to Hannah have been posted online

Dozens of police officers have been focusing their attention on the accommodation used by the victims, examining rooms and items found there for evidence.

Police are also focused on tracing a particular suspect - an Asian man - captured on grainy CCTV footage, shortly after the murders.

It shows what appears to be a topless man who officers say was acting suspiciously as he left a beach party near the murder scene.

He is captured running past the security camera at 3.44am and is seen again an hour later walking down the same street.

Brits killed on Koh Tao Police investigate the killings on the beach

In another image, Mr Miller, from Jersey, and Ms Witheridge, from Great Yarmouth, are seen walking hand-in-hand after leaving a bar at around 1am.

It was taken hours before their bodies were discovered semi-naked on Sairee beach.

More than 70 Thai police have been questioning migrant workers and tourists on the island, visiting hotels, bars, homes and businesses.

The families of both victims have paid tribute to them.

Ms Witheridge was described by her family as "a beautiful, intelligent, loving young woman who poured joy into the lives of all who knew her".

Mr Miller was a "hard-working, bright and conscientious" young man who would be "sorely, sorely missed", his family said.


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Scotland Campaign Trail 'Sours', Says Darling

Written By andika jamanta on Selasa, 16 September 2014 | 20.48

How Facebook Shaped The Referendum

Updated: 8:27am UK, Tuesday 16 September 2014

By James Matthews, Scotland Correspondent

It's Facebook 'wot might win it.

Sure, the August poll surge in support for independence was down, in part, to traditional campaigning. Meetings and megaphones have thrust the Yes campaign "in yer face" over years leading up to Thursday.

But why, according to the opinion polls, did it all seem to come together in the space of a few weeks? Why, suddenly, the knife-edge?

In the word of a senior Yes strategist: Facebook.

I chatted to him as the Alex Salmond Labour Heartland tour rolled up at its latest venue, playing to the target market through the TV cameras. It was a big, well-attended, photo-call - the staple diet of the political campaign.

As the strategist stood back from the madding crowd, he told me that the magic formula didn't lie in the blood and snotters of a mass media scrum, but in the quiet exploitation of social media. Facebook, in particular.

The challenge for supporters of Scottish independence, historically, has been in turning it from a fringe notion into something people allow themselves to contemplate. Check their election success at the Scottish Parliament to see the considerable style with which that's been accomplished.

Scots have taken the hop and a step. Why, now, might they be shaping to take the jump? 

The Yes strategist pinned it on Facebook.

"Ask yourself," he said, to paraphrase him, "if a parent wants to check on their youngster who's on a night out, what do they do?  They don't phone them, because they probably won't answer.

"They might text ... but, invariably, they'll Facebook them. And when they do, dozens or hundreds of their friends will see it. It's a chat network that plugs people into the other people they value. There are no better opinion-formers for someone than the friends and family they like and trust.

"So, as a campaigning tool, it's been very effective. We encourage Yes supporters to spread the word to their Facebook friends and, over time, you build a network around people that builds a political case.

"Facebook is more effective than Twitter. You put something on Twitter and you reach people within the political bubble. With Facebook, you tap into a far bigger community."

So why the spike in support for Yes after polls that had No with a consistent and strong lead over the course of a two and a half year campaign?

"People just didn't turn their mind to the referendum until it actually came round. It's been in the far distance for most of the campaign but, now that people realise they're getting to decision time, large numbers are now weighing up the arguments ... and they're deciding having had their views on independence softened by Facebook friends."

There were more than 10 million referendum-related interactions on Facebook in the five weeks to September 8 - 85% of which was from Scotland.

He said he reckoned the Yes campaign had been four or five times more active than their opponents on Facebook and pointed out a Facebook chat with Scotland's pro-independence First Minister Alex Salmond attracted around 5,000 questions.

Data suggests the Yes campaign is slightly in the lead with 2.05 interactions in Scotland compared to 1.96 million for the no campaign.

The strategist said the campaigning beauty of social media was that it eliminated the need to rely on mainstream media coverage, that the likes of Facebook cut out the middle man and enabled them to reach out to the voter directly.

Just how many the campaign has touched and what effect it has had, we'll find out soon enough.


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Thai Murders Suspect Captured On Camera

FCO Advice For Thailand Tourists

Updated: 10:39am UK, Monday 15 September 2014

The latest Foreign Office advice for tourists in Thailand warns of the danger of robberies and sex assaults in areas popular with backpackers.

Here is the FCO's advice on crime in the country, which draws around 800,000 British visitors each year.

Eleven British nationals have been murdered in Thailand since January 2009.

Western tourists have been victims of vicious, unprovoked attacks by gangs in Koh Phangan.

These attacks are particularly common around the time of the Full Moon parties and generally occur late at night near bars in Haad Rin on Koh Phangan.

In January 2013 a British national was killed in a shooting incident while at a beach party in Haad Rin.

Violent assaults and robberies have been reported in Chaweng, Koh Samui.

Attacks have also occurred in other tourist districts in Thailand including in Chiang Mai, Pattaya and Krabi. Take care, especially at night.

There have been sexual assaults against foreign men and women, especially in the Koh Samui archipelago and Krabi province.

Tourists have also been robbed after bringing visitors to their hotel rooms.

In some cases their drinks were drugged. Be careful about taking drinks from strangers and at clubs and parties, particularly in Koh Samui, Pattaya and at the Full Moon party on Koh Phangan, where date rapes have been reported.

Alcohol and drugs can lead to you being less alert, less in control and less aware of your environment. If you drink, know your limit.

Drinks served in bars overseas are often stronger than those in the UK. Some British nationals have suffered severe psychiatric problems because of drug use, resulting in some suicides.

Be aware of the possibility of credit card fraud. Don't lose sight of your card during transactions.

There have been incidents of ATM skimming in Thailand. Where possible use an ATM within a bank and always protect your PIN.

Be careful to observe demarcation lines between shops and stalls, particularly in market areas and at Suvarnabhumi Airport.

Taking items from one shop's area to another may be treated as suspected theft.

Be on your guard against pickpockets and bag snatchers. Foreigners have had items snatched by thieves on motorbikes when walking along busy streets or travelling in open transport like tuk tuks.

If you travel by bus, make sure cash and valuables you have are kept securely. There have been incidents where passengers have had items taken from bags while asleep.

Gem scams are common. There have been reports of visitors buying gems for inflated prices from seemingly respectable establishments then later finding out the stones are worth a tiny fraction of the purchase price.

You should report any incidents of crime to the Thai police before leaving the country.


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