Thailand, Phang Nga, Ko Panyi: Burgled while away from the vessel – December 2018

Dennis’ unsecured boat was robbed of phone and cash, and the professionalism and attention given to them by the Thai authorities to locate the culprits was exceptional.

Published 6 years ago, updated 5 years ago

Security in isolated anchorages

We were recently anchored in a river not far from Ko Panyee and while away from the vessel for several hours a thief gained entry via an unlocked hatch and stole my mobile phone and a substantial amount of cash from my wallet. My fault entirely not ensuring the hatches were all locked.

Based on the postings of others on this forum our first reaction was to put it down to experience and move on, however, we decided to report it to the police in Phang Nga so they were aware that there had been a problem. What happened as a result was totally unexpected and contrary to other reports we have read about where police were disinterested or did nothing about our situation.

First of all, after explaining what had happened, they brought in an interpreter who helped us prepare a statement. Surprisingly this was handled by one of the senior officers, not a desk clerk.

Shortly afterward two people (Pack and Milk) arrived from the Tourist Assistance Centre to help us refine the report and offer their assistance. In the meantime, four officers were assigned to check CCT footage at Panyee and make inquiries about a local boat that had been acting suspiciously around the time the theft occurred. They also involved a technical chap to contact my phone service provider to see if the phone could be located on the local cell network as well as through the internet.

While we were about to leave feeling assured and really pleased to have been provided with such outstanding attention they stepped up the service to an even greater level. Together with two forensic officers and three other senior personnel, we were ferried back to our boat so they could check for any fingerprints. Since then we’ve received follow-up calls from the Tourist Assistance Centre and wait today to see if any matches come up on the police database, or if their inquiries have achieved any results.

So, while it is possible this is not a common experience, the purpose of my post is two-fold. Firstly, if you are anchored in an isolated spot ensure your boat is secure while you are absent. Secondly, don’t assume the local authorities will do nothing to assist you. It may surprise you as it did in our case.

The Ko Panyee area

For those who haven’t visited the Ko Panyee area, it is one of the most picturesque areas we have visited in our sailing adventures in Thailand. We’re currently at the river about a mile past the Panyee floating village.

Here are the coordinates of our Panyee anchorage:

8° 21.483′ N
98° 29.609′ E

Please note that this location is frequented by local fishermen and as a courtesy, we have anchored close to the entrance well out of their way so their nets don’t get fouled. The depth is generally between 5-6 meters with drying banks on the NW side.

There is spotty or no internet (a blessing to some).

Longtails are available from Panyee to any one of three wharfs in the area and it is a short taxi ride to Phang Nga to re-provision.

This is a quiet and isolated location and while word has gotten around about our experience please remember to secure your vessel. Fishermen will no doubt offer to sell some of their catch.

Above all, this is a Muslim community and we ask that all visitors respect their customs for the benefit of others who may one day enjoy this wonderful region.

Dennis Campbell

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