Magic mushrooms on menu
BANGKOK, 2 July 2012: Ministry of Public Health has called for more competent food safety checks at tourist resorts following the deaths of two young female tourists who were visiting Phi Phi last month.
Although there is still no proven link to food or drinks cited in the autopsy reports on the Canadian sisters’ deaths, public health officials have called on restaurant and hotel owners on the island to be vigilant in food preparations and to stop serving illegal booze or cocktail concoctions to tourists.
The heavy mixture of booze with the so called magic mushrooms could have drug like qualities that could be harmful.
The ministry’s permanent secretary, Paijit Warachit, said: “To avoid tragic consequences, cooks should not add strange ingredients particularly magic mushroom to spicy Thai food. Foreign travellers may not be familiar with Thai favours and we are not sure yet what could have caused the fatalities.”
Reports on the internet pointed an accusing finger at magic mushrooms that are used in powerful cocktails served by the bucket to tourists at resorts in the South.
There have been calls for a crackdown on the sale of illegal beverages on the island.
Officials were quick to explain that there was no evidence from the autopsy to back the theory that Phi Phi’s famous booze by the bucket is the culprit.
Tourists commenting on the internet said there were magic mushrooms on the menus at restaurants on Pha Ngan, Samui and Phi Phi islands, all frequented by so called ‘backpackers’.
The local name is “Khee Kwai”, or magic mushroom, can cause heavy intoxication and hallucinations. Mixed with alcoholic beverages the drinks can be dangerous to people who are allergic.
Police and medical investigators are no closer to finding the cause of death. Audrey and Noemi Belanger, aged 20 and 26, died at Palm Residence Hotel on Ao Nang in Muang district, Phi Phi Island in Krabi and were buried last Saturday in the their home town in Quebec Canada.
It is not the first case linked to Phi Phi Island. Back in May 2009, American Jill St Onge, 27, and Norwegian Julie Michelle Bergheim, 22, died in similar circumstances, while staying in adjoining rooms at the Laleena guest house.
Despite pathology tests in Norway and the US, the cause of death was never been determined.
Also the mysterious death of a 23-year-old New Zealand woman,Sarah Carter and several other tourists in Chiang Mai who allegedly stayed at the city’s Downtown Inn has still not been solved, although it is understood the hotel will be demolished.