Party ‘Mafia’ Blamed for Gunplay on ‘Full Moon’ Party Island

SURAT THANI — A dispute over all-night partying led to recent gunfire which hit tourists’ rooms on the southern island of Koh Phangan, police said today.

Five gunshots fired Tuesday at the Palita Lodge on Haad Rin Nok, the site of the island’s infamous “Full Moon Party,” are thought by police to be retaliation over the bungalow owner’s complaints about a nearby bar’s noisy late night parties.

“The Russian bar owner came to see me and my wife on Jan. 9, asking me to allow him to hold the party,” Palita Lodge owner Pairot Charoenwan said. “I said, ‘I am not in charge of this, why don’t you go ask the authorities?’”




Police Col. Prachum Ruangthong said the gun was fired from outside, either on the shore or from a small boat, as muzzle flashes were seen from that direction in security camera footage. No one was injured.

Pairot said he was sleeping when the shooting woke him up on at 4:50am on Tuesday. The 57-year-old owner thought it was fireworks until his guests came to him later, saying they were scared to leave their rooms earlier.

Damage from bullets was found in two rooms in which foreign tourists were sleeping when the shooting took place. Bullets struck the ceiling, a clothes rack, a lamp and other items.

Pairot said he received many complaints from guests unable to sleep after the recently opened bar began holding loud parties in the open past permitted hours.

“They were partying until 8am on Jan. 7,” he said. “So my wife sent a message to police via Line messenger, asking them to intervene.”

Pairot said the unidentified Russian national then came to ask him to cooperate on Jan. 9, but he refused.

On Jan. 10, he hosted a meeting of the local business association attended by the mayor and police.

“We came to agree that no party would be allowed in Haad Rin Nok except the Full Moon Party,” he said. “Police then called the foreign bar owner to inform him of the agreement. He was displeased.”

Police and Pairot said they believed the bar owner was supported by local Thai nationals.

Col. Prachum insisted an investigation was underway, and that the perpetrator would be convicted.


“This is a tourism destination,” he said. “It’s unacceptable for this mafia action.”

Operating his bungalow in Phangan for 30 years, Pairot said all the business operators have agreed that except for the busy full moon, the volume of sound must be reduced after 2am. Other parties, he said, typically are held away from the beach area to avoid disturbing residents.