(Update) Cover up denied in Chiang Mai deaths | Bangkok Post: learning

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(Update) Cover up denied in Chiang Mai deaths

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A victim's father says he suspects a cover up in the investigation into 5 mysterious deaths in Chiang Mai, a charge denied by the inspection head. 

Richard Carter, father of Sarah, has told The Dominion Post that he suspected Thai authorities had covered up circumstances surrounding her death to protect the tourism industry.

Tuesday update (See Monday's story below)

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Cover up denied

The investigation by the New Zealand television show 60 Minutes which found traces of the potentially lethal toxin chlorpyrifos in Chiang Mai's Downtown Inn hotel has received a lot of attention here in Thailand.

That hotel, of course, is where 23-year-old Sarah Carter stayed before dying in a local hospital in February of this year. Three other hotel guests also died about the same time in similar circumstances.

Now people are wondering why local health experts didn't find traces of the toxin months ago in their investigations when it would have been much easier to find.

Richard Carter, father of Sarah, has told The Dominion Post that he suspected Thai authorities had covered up circumstances surrounding her death to protect the tourism industry.

Dr Surasing Visaruthrat, deputy chief of Chiang Mai's public health office, yesterday strongly denied the allegation.

"The investigation has been conducted with full transparency. We also regularly communicate with Ms Carter's father, said the doctor, who leads the investigation into the unexplained deaths of five people – four of whom stayed at the hotel.

Bangkok and Chiang Mai-based investigators will hold a meeting today to wrap up the possible causes of the deaths.

Adapted from a story in today’s Bangkok Post.

cover up – an action that is taken to hide a mistake or illegal activity from the public การปกปิด, การปิดป้อง   
suspect – to believe that something is true, especially something bad  สงสัย
authorities – people who have the power to make decisions or enforce the law เจ้าหน้าที่ผู้มีอำนาจ
surrounding – to be closely connected with a situation or an event เชื่อมต่อกัน  เกี่ยวข้องกับ
circumstances – facts or conditions that affect a situation เหตุการณ์แวดล้อม
deny – to say that something is not true or does not exist ปฏิเสธ
investigation – the process of trying to find out all the details or facts about something in order to discover who or what caused it or how it happened การตรวจสอบหาข้อเท็จจริง
traces – very small amounts of a substance ร่องรอย
potentially – possibly เป็นไปได้
lethal – very dangerous and able to kill you เป็นอันตรายถึงชีวิต
toxins – a poisonous substance, especially one which is produced by bacteria and which causes disease พิษ
attention – interest, especially interest that the public has in a person, event, situation etc ความสนใจ
local – in or related to the area that you live, or to the particular area that you are talking about  ท้องถิ่น
similar – like somebody/something but not exactly the same คล้ายกัน
wonder – to think about something because you want to know more facts or details about it สงสัย
allegation – an accusation; a statement that someone has done something wrong or illegal even though this has not been proved ข้อกล่าวหา
conduct – to do something in an organised way; to carry out — ลงมือทำ, ดำเนิน, ปฏิบัติ
transparency – an honest way of doing things that allows other people to know exactly what you are doing ความโปร่งใส
regularly – done or happening often, especially with the same time and space in between each activity and the next เป็นประจำ, เสมอๆ
wrap up – to finish  ทำให้เสร็จสิ้น

Four tourists died mysteriously after staying in this Chiang Mai hotel earlier this year.

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Bedbug spray the likely Chiang Mai killer

Sarah Carter

It looks like there has been a breakthrough in finding the cause of the five mysterious tourist deaths that occurred over a 16-day period in the northern Thai city of Chiang Mai earlier this year.

The finding didn’t come from local investigators but from an investigation carried out by a team working for the New Zealand current affairs television show 60 Minutes.

The television team looked specifically into the death of New Zealander Sarah Carter, 23, who became gravely ill while on holiday in the Downtown Inn Hotel in Chiang Mai last February. Four of the five people who died in the city stayed at this hotel.

The 60-Minutes team took samples from the room where Carter stayed with her friends Emma Langlands and Amanda Eliason. They, too, were hospitalised, but survived.

A New Zealand laboratory found traces of the insecticide chlorpyrifos which is used to kill bed bugs. The fact traces of chlorpyrifos were found three months after Carter's death and after the room was cleaned suggested the concentration was high.

A UN scientist, Ron McDowall, said there was a strong likelihood Carter died from excessive exposure to the substance, which causes identical symptoms to those suffered by the trio as well as several other tourists who died after staying at the hotel.

Most had myocarditis, or inflammation of the heart.

"I think she has been killed by an overzealous sprayer who's been acting on the instructions of the hotel owner to deal with bed bugs," Mr McDowall said.

Even a slight mistake in the dosage of chlorpyrifos, which has been banned for indoor use in many countries, could be lethal, he said.

Interestingly, Chiang Mai's head of public health Dr Surasing Visaruthrat also investigated the insecticide theory.

"I'm not a specialist," he said. "But it's possible that they mixed together the wrong chemicals."

Chiang Mai and Bangkok-based experts investigating the case will meet tomorrow to share information.
Adapted from a story in todays’ Bangkok Post. You can see the 60 Minutes report here: http://bit.ly/kwekPw

breakthrough – an achievement that comes after a lot of hard work การพัฒนาหรือการค้นพบที่ยิ่งใหญ่
mysterious – not explained or understood; full of secrets น่าพิศวง, น่าประหลาด
occur – to happen เกิดขึ้น
local – in or related to the area that you live, or to the particular area that you are talking about  ท้องถิ่น
investigator – someone whose job is to officially find out the facts about something – ผู้สอบสวน,  ผู้สำรวจ, ผู้ตรวจสอบ
current affairs – issues and subjects that are in the news now
specifically – in a detailed and exact way เฉพาะ, เฉพาะเจาะจง
grave – very serious; very dangerous วิกฤติ, ร้ายแรง
sample – a small amount of a substance that is used for scientific or medical tests ตัวอย่างทดลอง
hospitalise – to send somebody to a hospital for treatment ให้อยู่โรงพยาบาล
survive – to continue to live มีชีวิตรอด
laboratory – a room or building used for scientific research, experiments, testing, etc  ห้องปฏิบัติการ, ห้องทดลอง
traces – very small amounts of a substance ร่องรอย
insecticide – a chemical used for killing insects ยาฆ่าแมลง, ยากำจัดแมลง
suggest – to show that something is possibly true ชวนคิด
concentration – the amount of a substance in a liquid or in another substance สารที่มีความเข้มข้น
likelihood – the chance that something will happen or has happened ความเป็นไปได้
excessive – much greater than is usual; too much of something   มากเกินปริมาณที่พอดี
exposure –  the state of being put into a situation in which something harmful or dangerous might affect you การสัมผัส, การเปิดรับ
substance – a particular type of liquid, solid, or gas สาร
identical – exactly the same, or very similar เหมือนกัน, แบบเดียวกัน
symptom – a sign that someone has an illness อาการ
suffer – to experience something very unpleasant or painful ประสบ
trio – a group of three people กลุ่มที่ประกอบด้วย 3 คน
inflammation – a red, painful and often swollen area in or on a part of your body การอักเสบ, การติดเชื้อ
overzealous – showing too much energy or enthusiasm  กระตือรือร้นมากเกินไป
instructions – something that somebody tells you to do คำสั่ง
slight – small in size or amount เล็กน้อย
dosage – an amount of drug that you take at a single time ปริมาณยาที่ให้ต่อครั้ง
banned – officially not allowed ถูกห้ามอย่างเป็นทางการ
lethal – very dangerous and able to kill you เป็นอันตรายถึงชีวิต
theory – one or more ideas that explain how or why something happens สมมติฐาน
specialist – a person who is an expert in a particular area of work or study ผู้ชำนาญเฉพาะทาง

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