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A damming report by Australia’s Channel 9 news aired this week after a hidden camera man and a news reporter went undercover to Koh Phangans Full Moon Party.
A current Affairs reporter Ben McCormack starts the presentation by saying that that although Thailand is one of the most popular holiday destinations for Australians it is also the most deadly. He says that on average one Australian dies in the country every four days with scores more injured every day. He points out that these figures are way more than Bali and way more than Vietnam.
He and his camera man go to the full moon party to film what is called as” a potentially lethal orgy” by Father Michael Kelly an Australian who works in Bangkok for a catholic newspaper but helps out Aussies in trouble in his spare time. He describes the party goers as “Schoolies on steroids”
While at the party camera man Oliver Clarke films Australians drinking buckets and getting wrapped up in a burning skipping ropes.
The sister of Nicole Fitzsimons who lost her life to a bike accident in Koh Samui, Kate Fitzsimons, a lady who campaigns in Australia for Australians to stay safe while travelling abroad with the Nicole Fitzsimons foundation says “it is just out of control in every aspect” and goes on to say “when something does go wrong it goes seriously wrong”.
Comments from Australians enjoying the party include “There is not a party in the world quite like this”, “ Its crazy, its full on, I have never seen so many people on a beach in my life”, “There must be 20 to 30 thousand people here at least, easy” Kate Fitzsimons describes it as a party with “No police, no parents, no rules, no limits”.
The crew then goes undercover to bring images of binge drinking, drugs, sex and the dangerous stunts that they say go on all night long. When asked by the reporter if Australians die here Father Michael responds “oh hell yeah”
Ben McCormack tell his viewers “If you thought Bali was bad just wait till you see this” and points out that the revelers entire aim is to get as drunk as they can, not hard in a place where he says offers “hard liquor only” and claims that buckets containing 200ml of vodka mixed with up to two bottles or red bull can be very dangerous. Father Michael says “it’s a bucket of alcohol but what else goes in it in terms of uppers and downers?”. When asked how dangerous the party is he says it is extremely dangers because it is fueled by substances that many of the party goers would not have had any experience of previously and would not recognize the taste of.
One Australian girl admits that she has been offered drugs, then the undercover reported asks a local man if he has drugs for sale, he says he has ecstasy and it costs one thousand baht, he finds several other dealers and one man in a side alley who offers him MDMA, he then comments on how many party goers are breathing in from balloons filled with nitrous oxide otherwise known as laughing gas.
The reporter then heads up to what he calls Mushroom Mountain where he buys a mushroom shake full of hallucinogenic mushrooms, he comments that as he looks around he can see hundreds of people on mushroom shakes.
More dangers lie in the party games the report tells us, such as skipping ropes that have been doused in kerosene and set on fire. One man who is not Australian but got burnt during filming said he only took part because he was so drunk.
Attention then turns to what young Australians’ parents make of them coming to the party one man tells the reporter he booked the trip before he told his parents so they could not stop him going, another young girl said that her parents were very worried and she promised to call them immediately after the part to let them know “I am alive, I made it”.
The focus then shifts to the dangers of cooling off in the black ocean, something one Australian decided to do a few years ago, adecision cost him his life. Jo Welsh was a lovely kid, father Michael said, he went on to say that he did not know what he happened but the elite rugby player lost his life to the party in 2011.
The reporter than watches young drunk Aussies go into the water, he comments on some not being able to stand up right but still manage to hold on to their drinks. One man who comes staggering out of the water, and danger, is quickly led back into the ocean by his friend before he finally collapses in the surf, overcome by the effects of alcohol.
However when asked if the party is dangerous one young female Aussie said not at all, provided you are surrounded by good friends.
Kate Fitzsimons believes that it is Thailand’s no rules attitude that causes the problem and said her sister would never have considered riding a bike with no helmet at home, she says that the rules in Australia are what protects Aussies and the lack of them in Thailand is what causes the dangers. She spends a great deal of her time highlighting the dangers faced by young Australians in schools around the country. She reports telling the kids of Oz that in Thailand there is not the same support systems and medical and emergency services available at home.
As the report comes to a close a bunch of party goes getting onto a water taxi with no lifejackets and safety briefing is observed as well as 12 young Aussies in a tattoo parlor about to immortalize their trip with some tattoos they have no idea how their parents will react to.
While the dangers were reported no mention was made of the hundreds of thousands of party goers who experience no problems at the monthly full moon parties and no blame was placed on the decisions of those who wish to let it all go on the beach. Although of course it is the responsibility of any party organizers to ensure help is on hand in the event of an emergency surely some responsibility must fall onto the shoulders of anybody who takes the decision to get drunk or stoned, or get on a motorbike with no helmet in any foreign land, even if they would never consider doing such things at home, which judging by some of the party goes from Australia, seems unlikely.
You can watch the Channel 9 report by clicking here