Red Light Jihad: Islamic insurgency in Thailand’s strangest party town

SUNGAI GOLOK, Thailand — Pin is stumbling drunk. When she bends down to refill a customer’s Heineken, her hair dips into the beer. Her breath smells like menthols and fish sauce. She is shrieking advances in tortured English at any male who passes by.

None of this is particularly odd in Sungai Golok, a gritty border town in Thailand. Pin is a 35-year-old sex worker in one of the city’s countless open-air bars. Cooing at strangers and plying them with overpriced beer is part of her job.

But nerves are extra raw tonight. The city is under attack.


  • Dennis Mahon

    Since 2004, their war against the Buddhist nation of Thailand has tallied more than 6,200 dead. That’s more conflict deaths in the last 10 years than in the Gaza Strip.
    I remember hearing about the insurgency in Thailand back in ’07, via Dr. Pournelle’s “Chaos Manor” blog. This is the first mention of it I’ve seen since then. With this many dead, you’d think that Western media would have included it in their international news reporting, but I’ve heard nothing.