Fallout From Big Trouble in Thailand Documentary

Photo Courtesy Phucket Wan

Photo Courtesy Phucket Wan

Since the airing of the first episode of the documentary filmed for the Bravo Television channel in the U.K there has been a lot of discussion  across Thailand blogs, forums, Thailand news and in Thailand itself.

There seemed to be a even divide amongst watchers as to whether or not parts of the documentary were staged. The Thai police have had a viewing of the first episode and promptly arrested Winai Naiman ( JJ ),the jet ski operator that appeared to have threatened Royal Navy personnel with a rifle. The rifle has since been discovered to be a BB gun.

The scene involving the jet ski incident has drawn the most commentary due to the fact that it happened at the jet ski owners house/boat yard instead of on the beach.  The Royal Navy Police officer who decided to go it alone instead of involving the Thai authorities, which one would think is proper protocol, added to the debate.

One good thing that has come of this is that Thai authorities seem to be cracking down on the jet ski operators and the scams they perpetrate on the tourist community.

The Governor of Phucket, Wichai Praisa-nob,  has also responded stating:

Jet-skis are allowed to operate as a sport in Patong, not as a business.  Unless this kind of activity stops, we will ban them all.

At a meeting with Phucket’s jet ski operators yesterday at Patong Municipal offices the governor told the assembly that they will all be required to have their jet ski’s insured for damage at their expense.  Hopefully this will filter throughout Thailand’s beach destinations and the scams will stop for good. Although I’m sure the more industrious operators will find new scams to employ.

Good or bad the documentary has received a lot of press recently and we all know there is no such thing as bad press. You can be assured the next installment of the 8 episode documentary will be very heavily watched.

The Producer/Director of the Documentary, Gavin Hill,  has also responded on a few blogs to clear up what he believes are misconceptions about the documentary as well as stating that no scenes were staged.

Gavin Hill also went as far to say that he will release all the raw footage of the jet ski incident to show it wasn’t staged.  He has since released the raw footage of the incident, while it does make the incident more believable it still doesn’t answer the question of how this came to take place at the boat yard of the business owner which is reported to be 10 minutes away from the beach.

There is the possibility that JJ somehow talked the young marine into going back to the boat yard to get an estimate which would make this just a very foolish mistake on the Marine’s part.  As an interesting aside if you watch the raw footage from JJMarines 2 at the 5:30 mark the marine admits to crashing into another jet ski but then quickly doesn’t remember crashing. Apparently his friends also left him on the beach to deal with this alone.

The one troubling aspect of the original footage where JJ gets a rifle out is oddly absent from the raw footage and seems like it may not have been part of the confrontation but spliced in to look as it was. Hopefully that isn’t the case and more raw footage is forthcoming that explains the rifle. The jet ski operator, JJ, has been arrested and charged due to the rifle scene in the documentary.

Gavin Hill’s full statement can be read here:  From the Producer/Director of Big Trouble in Thailand

The first episode of the 8 part documentary can be seen in the video gallery.

sig1 Fallout From Big Trouble in Thailand Documentary
Related Posts with Thumbnails

If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed!
13 Responses to Fallout From Big Trouble in Thailand Documentary
  1. Mike
    September 12, 2009 | 11:20 pm

    Talen I don’t think this one will go away quickly-unless of course there’s another coup next week.

    I read Gavin’s response which is well written and quite convincing.

    I also appreciate his apparent openness by releasing the raw footage.

    It would be great to get one of the Marines point of view but I fancy that will not happen-pity they were not US Marines since I reckon it might have been on CNN!
    Mike´s last blog ..All Change in Tourist Thailand? My ComLuv Profile

    • Talen
      September 12, 2009 | 11:42 pm

      it is great that Gavin was open to releasing some of the raw footage and apparently a lot of what he conveyed to the editors wasn’t taken on board.

      With the one ex Thai general speaking out that there should be another coup there is the likelihood that this could get eclipsed.

  2. Mike
    September 12, 2009 | 11:23 pm

    Hi Talen me again- looking at the U Tube videos apparently it was the US Marines according to the title!!

    Don’t tell the Royals.
    Mike´s last blog ..All Change in Tourist Thailand? My ComLuv Profile

    • Talen
      September 12, 2009 | 11:43 pm

      That could kick off an even bigger pissing match :)

  3. Catherine
    September 14, 2009 | 1:44 am

    It’s interesting how all of this is all panning out. And while there is no such thing as bad press, I imagine the guys responsible for putting the work into this documentary are not too happy about the focus that is pointing in their direction as well.
    Catherine´s last blog ..Free Downloads: Thai Cat Cartoons My ComLuv Profile

    • Talen
      September 14, 2009 | 3:40 am

      Cat, I honestly don’t think they care…good or bad press will send more people to the Bravo channel to watch and more viewers means more money for reality programing.

  4. LivingInThailand
    September 14, 2009 | 2:48 am

    It actually doesn’t matter if it was staged or not.

    For those of us who live in Thailand, we know that the police, jet ski operators, taxis (especially), and most land dealings in Phuket are corrupt beyond imagination.

    There is no secret whatsoever the taxis are run by the mafia. The police are on the take in just about everything, from taking payments from bars, to arresting motorbikes on just about anything they want. Land dealings can be legal one day, illegal the next. Jet ski operators scam daily. ‘Tourist survey’ guys scam you so they get your hotel number, then call you persistently, etc, etc, etc.

    Sorry, but this is no secret whatsoever. Much like rampant corruption at the airport is dominant.

    The only difference is someone did a documentary on it that has been viewed a lot. It is all true.

    • Talen
      September 14, 2009 | 3:37 am

      Living in Thailand,

      I agree with absolutely everything you say but I disagree about it not mattering if it is staged or not.

      We all know these problems persist and you don;t need to stage them to point them out. Gem scams, massage scams, jet ski scams, and survey scams are everywhere. Honest reporting of them would go much further than portraying them a certain way for reality television that usually turns out to be not so real.

  5. Catherine
    September 14, 2009 | 4:03 am

    If that is true, then it a sad way to operate. Because like you, I do care if a show of this type is staged.

    It reminds me of the award winning photo with the guy pulling the gals red shirt off (did you see the before and after? Where he Photoshopped his camera bag out of it?) It matters.

    But for tongue in cheek, everything goes :-D

  6. Jon
    September 16, 2009 | 9:07 pm

    Talen, it looks like word on the blogosphere has reached the Thai Film Board who have called a press conference today to discuss.

    Keep an eye out for details…
    Jon´s last blog ..Big Trouble In Thailand My ComLuv Profile

  7. Talen
    September 16, 2009 | 9:12 pm

    I’ll be keeping an eye out for it Jon, thanks.

    I can imagine what they will say though…and I can imagine they will be making it hard from this point on for foreign filmmakers to film in Thailand.

    • Jon
      September 16, 2009 | 11:38 pm

      The Thai film industry needs every baht of overseas money it can get as it continues to struggle along (I recently wrote about the industry so was exposed to opinion and information galore) so this presents a problem.

      Do they value face saving over the future of the industry. Only time will tell.

      It’s fascinating how blogs have stepped up to scrutinise the series while media in both Thailand and UK have not. Particularly seeing that the producer has come out and responded to your efforts, too.

      Witness the potential of the internet.
      Jon´s last blog ..Big Trouble In Thailand My ComLuv Profile

  1. Fallout From Big Trouble in Thailand Documentary :Thailand Hotel Promotion
Leave a Reply

Wanting to leave an <em>phasis on your comment?

Trackback URL http://thailandlandofsmiles.com/2009/09/12/fallout-from-big-trouble-in-thailand-documentary/trackback/