PHUKET, Thailand – Tourists visiting nightspots in Phuket should not leave their drinks unattended as there have been incidents of people having their drinks “spiked” with potent sedatives in recent weeks, Tourist Police volunteers have warned.
Frank Tomensen, Group Leader of the Phuket Tourist Police Foreign Volunteers in Patong, has instructed his patrol units to be on the lookout for victims who may appear impaired or disoriented.
While there is usually no lack of such people on any given night in Patong, “spiking victims” might display somewhat different behavior from those of classic alcohol inebriation, he explained.
In two recent cases, victims are thought to have had a “date rape drug”, possibly gamma-hydroxybutyric acid (“GMH”), surreptitiously added to their drinks.
“In two incidents that we are aware of, the victim had an odorless and colorless substance added to their drink while at a bar on Soi Paradise. The effects take about 15-20 minutes to set in, rendering the victim completely helpless.
“In both cases it is known the victims were robbed,” Mr Tomenson explained.
“The purpose of this alert is to let you know that this has been happening. In cases where you come across someone who is very impaired and disoriented [the drug loosens inhibitions and paralyzes motor control], they may not necessarily be drunk. This drug can have lethal effects, as it can slip a person into a coma-like state. Medical intervention is required as soon as possible,” he wrote.
Volunteers were also warned that there had been a “large increase” in thefts from buses arriving in Phuket from other destinations.
Tourists traveling by bus should keep all valuable on their person or in closely guarded carry-on luggage, he advised.
Any tourists who suspect they may have had their drinks spiked are encouraged to call the Tourist Police Hotline at 1155.