Koh Phangan Island – PACs’ official statement regarding the “fire”



Phangan PAC Arson Attack 01
Phangan PAC Arson Attack

At 10pm, Friday the 1st of August, “fire” destroyed all medicines and most equipment at PAC. Two patients were in the clinic at the time – one cat died, the other was saved due to the heroic actions of Pi Ton, our building foreman, who managed to halt the “fire” before the truck arrived (and before the oxygen tank exploded). The cause of the “fire” has not yet been determined, but motorbikes and breaking glass were heard before the “fire” started.

We at PAC are all shocked and saddened by this development – for 7 years we have given every ounce of ourselves to help the animals of Koh Phangan and the island as a whole – work which has been funded by donations alone, with all earnings reinvested into improving the lives of the animals of this island.

If this “fire” was started deliberately, then someone on Koh Phangan has a problem with PAC. All PAC’s work has been called to an immediate halt, and all staff removed from the premises, until this problem is identified.

If this is a problem that cannot be solved, PAC will close permanently and the land will be sold. If this problem can be solved, and PAC is allowed to re-open, it can never be the same again due to our need to ensure that our work does not cause any further problems.

Up until now, PAC has operated without legal permission to perform our work. From this point forward, if we are allowed to stay, we will work strictly within the boundaries of the law – PAC can only perform its work under the supervision of a Thai veterinarian. We have built a veterinary clinic, but it can only be used if we can persuade a Thai vet to buy or rent it, depending on the outcome of this incident. We cannot and therefore will not be able to perform consultations or prescribe medications.

With deepest regrets,

Shevaun Gallwey (Founder), Amphai (Por) Thongpliu (Head Nurse) and Niramon Brande (President)

Notice: Koh Phangan Police has asked that PAC doesn’t speak in public about any arson attack until investigations are finished!

8 thoughts on “Koh Phangan Island – PACs’ official statement regarding the “fire”

  • August 7, 2008 at 2:09 pm
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    I am deeply disturbed about this all and don’t know who vaccinate our dogs now. So what can we do to help?

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  • August 8, 2008 at 4:22 am
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    I would like to ask Shevaun Gallwey how we can help? I’m in Australia but would like to send a donation or something to help get PAC operating again. This is awful, I hope the “problem” gets sorted out so these wonderful people can continue doing this thankless job. Keep strong Shevaun.

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  • August 8, 2008 at 6:28 am
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    This event is deeply disheartening and truly shocking. Having spent several years on Koh Phangan, I have seen the tireless efforts all volunteers and staff of PAC have given to the stray, wounded and sick animals of the island. PAC has given purely from the heart with no expectation of monetary return, never a profit made. I have seen the welfare and health of the island’s animals vastly improve from their efforts and dedication. It would be an enormous loss to the island’s animals were PAC not able to continue their valuable and necessary work. No doubt, if the island authorities allow for a decline in animal welfare and such thoughtless and cruel acts are not dealt with efficiently and justly, this island paradise will rapidly loose its appeal for foreign visitors. I sincerely hope for the benefit of all beings, that PAC can rebuild and move on from this tragedy.

    Let us be reminded by these wise words:

    “The measure of a society can be how well its people treat its animals.” ~M. Gandhi

    “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated” ~Gandhi (1869-1948)

    “I hold that the more helpless a creature, the more entitled it is to protection by man from the cruelty of man” ~M. Gandhi (1869-1948)

    “To inflict cruelties on defenseless creatures, or condone such acts, is to abuse one of the cardinal tenets of a civilized society – reverence for life. ~ Jon Evans

    “Kindness to animals and respect for all life are the only meaningful foundation for a civilized world.” ~ Michael Mountain

    With peace and hope,
    Simone MacKay

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  • August 8, 2008 at 1:35 pm
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    heard the streetword, that the bought or rented land of pac has something to do with the guy who got shot in sritanu. but don’t know who against who. look in that matter and you might find something. of course I never said this. I want to live. Life is hard enough even without the local politics here. and forget goinng to the cops. just what somebody told me…

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    • August 13, 2008 at 1:37 am
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      If the last comment is true, which I CERTAINLY dont doubt for a minute.. may karma come and kick all responsible in the a**!!!!!!!!

      🙁

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  • August 13, 2008 at 9:31 am
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    Shevaun here – Thanks so much to everyone for their support and offers of help – the truth is, I have no idea what we can do to get to the bottom of this. I can only hope that sharing PAC’s story as widely as possible will help.

    To summarize: Last September, I accepted the challenge of trying to make PAC a permanent part of the island so that we could provide care for both owned and stray animals. Through incredibly hard work and generous donations and grants, I managed to raise enough money to buy the land we are now on, renovate the existing buildings and build the island’s first vet clinic. The plan was to rent this custom-built clinic to a Thai vet (two of which have already expressed an interest) to set up their own business caring for all the owned animals of Koh PhaNgan. That way PAC could do what I set it up for – provide medical care for stray animals, using the rent to make PAC (hopefully!) self-sufficient, with the added advantage of the support & supervision of a Thai vet.

    We were so very close to this becoming a reality (just a couple more months), and then the fire.

    We don’t know why this has happened – there are many rumours, with the latest being that it was a farang who was dissatisfied with our ‘services’.

    I therefore want to talk here to the farang community who may misunderstand what we are about, and have unrealistic expectations of PAC.

    PAC is just 2 people (myself and Por) with the support of Nira and a stream of volunteers, who want to improve the lives of Koh PhaNgan’s animals. We operate entirely on donations, treat every animal in need, and make no financial profit whatsoever. Por receives basic living expenses from sponsors Animals Asia Foundation, and I have never taken any salary from PAC – I work part-time in Hong Kong as a veterinarian to support myself and my work at PAC.

    I set up PAC specifically to help the island’s strays, but as pet ownership has increased over the years, many animal owners have come to ask for our help as well – there has been a 75% increase in the number of pedigree dogs on the island since 2001, and they now occupy 35% of PAC’s work.

    Additionally PAC’s workload has more than doubled over the years, despite the fact that PAC is staffed only by Por and whatever volunteers I can find to help her. Year 6 averaged 300 animals seen per month (compare to 119 in Year 1) for consultations, vaccinations, surgeries and hospitalization – only 16% of these animals were strays. The only solution I could find for this was to do everything I could to help the island get a private vet clinic.

    We have worked so hard for 7 years, keeping the clinic open continually (except for a 1 week period at the start of May 2008 when we moved from the school), and for every animal we have helped, we know we have done a good thing. We were so saddened, therefore, when, in May of this year, we received complaints from farangs about the things we haven’t done.

    I can only ask for people to talk far and wide, to explain our situation to those who may not understand. I have no interest in revenge or even justice – I only want to know that Por is safe, that Koh PhaNgan wants PAC, and that PAC can safely return to our new premises to complete our efforts to provide care for all of Koh PhaNgan’s animals.

    PAC will remain closed until this time – we are currently building a security wall around the premises to keep it safe; anybody wishing to donate to help us pay for this wall, or recover our losses due to fire (estimated at approx THB 600,000) can do so through Marissa at Jungle Gym or via our bank account

    If anybody has any complaints, or knowledge of whatever problem may have sparked this or suggestions as to how this problem may be resolved, please contact me directly at redshev @ pacthailand.org

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  • August 31, 2008 at 4:53 am
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    This island (and maybe this country) is really sick of some people who see only money and power. People who do good will only get a kick in the ass. That’s very sad.

    And not much we can do about this because people who are in the key positions are totally corrupt. Nobody of them will do much about the violence, the noise in the night, the prostitution, the illegal gambling, and the rip off of people who rent motorbikes and have little accidents and so on and on. All this is supported by the police because they get their money too to rip off farang. After all this years I live on Koh Phangan it all become so disappointing.

    Isn’t it mad that PAC people have to protect themselves and their property with an ugly wall? I hope this is enough for the future. What idea this assholes will have next? Sorry to make you worry but I know how crazy some people are sometime. I had an experience with a fire attack many years ago in Thong Nai Pan and the corrupt police protect the attackers afterwards and not me.

    But still I try being a good example and the simple people in village are very pleased for this. So I will not give up. I hope you can continue your work as soon as possible.

    Reply

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